LETTER: Must improve current route

Among the plethora of correspondence about the A27, the occasional contribution generates more light than heat.

My WSCC colleague, Jeremy Hunt, should be congratulated for his measured, erudite missive, (January 19), though cynics will say that a dweller in Brandyhole Lane is unlikely to be a northern route supporter.

Conversely, it could be argued that Louise Goldsmith and Pieter Montyn, who reside in Itchenor and Birdham respectively, would wish to move the A27 as far as possible from their own back yards, regardless of the greater good.

Pieter Montyn even stooped so low as to appeal to those who despise the ‘landed gentry’ by sneering at Lord March and the Goodwood estate. He and I were members of one small group that toured the estate by invitation and even enjoyed a cup of coffee at the Earl’s expense, which some believe we should declare as hospitality. We received a booklet, outlining the activities of the estate and their contribution to the local economy, which is very considerable.

Did this influence my views? No! I was and always have been diametrically opposed to any northern bypass for a number of reasons. Paramount, of course, is the potential desecration of countryside which belongs, not to the Earl of March, but to all of us. The Earl is the custodian and those who complain that events at Goodwood cause some inconvenience might care to explain how they would prefer the estate to be financed.

Perhaps a funfair or menagerie would be more egalitarian, or some ‘affordable’ housing?

No matter that an expressway would deny access to any such enterprise.

Some have put forward the notion that a northern route would actually improve access to the car parks and even to the city centre, yet the proposed expressway would obliterate much of the parking space and offer no interchange whatsoever for local traffic.

The remit of Highways England is to build and maintain trunk routes and if they were to drive a northern by-pass through unspoilt countryside, the existing A27 would become the responsibility of WSCC. We are already facing a 3.95 per cent increase in the county precept to pay for the last few years’ posturing, so the notion that WSCC would ever have the money or the political will to make major improvements to the existing route in future is pure fantasy.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of new houses will be built on what is currently highly productive farmland, (productive because it is an alluvial flood plain!), and the existing A27 will be an even greater nightmare within a very few years.

Failure to improve the present route, and the roads that feed into it, such as Pagham Road, while the opportunity presents would be an act of monumental stupidity.

Let’s stop yacking and get on with it!

Tony Sutcliffe

WSCC Member for Nyetimber (UKIP)

Elmer Sands