Your Lavant correspondent, Dr Tucker, (Letters, Chichester Observer, 5 January) should be commended for carefully tracking the various pronouncements by Louise Goldsmith and her colleagues on West Sussex County Council with regard to the A27 Improvement Scheme over the past year.
Her intervention, which he deems as ‘most unfortunate’, could, it is claimed, lead to no improvements being made at all due to the risk of delaying the decision made by Highways England as to their preferred route.
I am sure he has been equally diligent in critically assessing the merits of the five online options and the improvements we can look forward to, for which he claims here has been considerable support and which Ms Goldsmith is now putting at risk. Should however he need reminding of the ‘improvements’ which the most controversial of these options, namely Option 2 offers, I am happy to provide a brief, though far from exhaustive guide to the main benefits we can look forward to:
:: 41 months of traffic chaos and serious economic disruption during the construction phase;
:: The demolition of 20 properties near the Stockbridge Roundabout;
:: The building of four unsightly new flyovers which will destroy the views of the city from south of the A27;
:: Serious and negative implications for the Manhood Peninsula economy due to the reduced access to the A 27. This will also increase journeys times for all those working and living on the Manhood. In addition this lack of access points will result in new rat runs being set up north of the A27, which will have a huge knock on effect for existing Chichester motorists;
:: Increased pollution and noise levels for those directly affected by the proposed route of Option 2, which includes the construction of the new Stockbridge Link Road. This pollution will also be blown towards Chichester by the prevailing south-westerly winds;
:: The creation of a huge bottleneck where the new link road meets the existing B2145. Traffic will then be forced to take the minor road running past the local school at North Mundham.
I was present at County Hall for the September meeting where the recommendation by the Environmental and Community Services Select Committee to WSCC was for ‘no option’. There was clearly dissatisfaction and anger at the lack of transparency shown by HE and this was a major contributor to the decision taken by the council. This feeling has now spread to Chichester District Council who also have chosen to re-evaluate their position.
Louise Goldsmith should not be vilified for her current stance and demanding a re-run of the consultation process. She has had the courage to listen to what the public is saying, take note and reconsider what the ‘improvements’ on offer from HE will actually mean to not only the residents of Chichester but for West Sussex people more generally. There is no shame in responding to the HE consultation shambles with a request that the whole process be re-run, this time incorporating transparency and openness so lamentably absent from the previous charade.
With regard to the five improvements proposed by HE, I can only echo the tenor of the majority of your correspondents – ‘What improvements?’