Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie wants a clearer explanation as to why options for a new northern bypass were dropped.
Mr Tyrie has written to the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, the secretary of state for transport, saying many of his constituents want proposals for a new bypass north of Chichester to be reconsidered.
In his letter, dated October 10, Mr Tyrie asks for Mr Grayling to ‘expand on the reasons behind the decision to first introduce and then withdraw the northern bypass from consideration...in much greater detail’ than previously given.
Mr Tyrie said that many of his constituents felt they ‘were not given a fair chance to express their views’ and believe ‘the construction of a new bypass would cause less disruption than would improvements to the exiting road’.
But he added: “It is relevant to note that I have also received a large number of letters and emails from constituents opposed to a northern bypass.”
Two draft options for a major new road between the north of Chichester and Lavant, revealed by the Chichester Observer last year, were suddenly dropped from the Highways England project just days before a public consultation was due to start.
That consultation was pushed back, and instead the five options brought forward were all to make changes to the existing 3.5ml stretch of road.
The ten-week public consultations finished last month, but the whole project has drawn criticism from many residents who feel none of the five options will solve the long-standing problems.
In particular, Option 2 has caused huge opposition because it proposes a new ‘Stockbridge link road’ over part of Chichester Canal, close to residents, and would see 20 buildings, including 17th century Stockbridge House, demolished.
The dissatisfaction has led to some parish councils and residents voting for ‘no option’ and calling for options for the northern bypass to be reinstated.
Mr Tyrie’s letter said: “It is vital that all those affected by the scheme can have confidence that the plan finally selected is the best - and best value - option for my constituents and for the area, and that the consultation has been open and transparent.
“The decision not to consult on the northern bypass was made public in a letter from Andrew Jones, Under Secretary of State for Transport, to Nick Herbert MP, dated March 3.
“This letter gave little by way of explanation for the decision.
“I would be very grateful if you could - at the earliest opportunity - expand on the reasons behind the decisions to first introduce and then withdraw the northern bypass from consideration.”
It added: “I will be placing this letter, and your response, in the public domain.”
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