West Sussex County Council has released its draft response to a Highways England consultation on upgrades to the A27 south of Chichester.
According to officers the greatest benefit to journey time reliability, road safety, regional connectivity, and accessibility to areas with tourist activity would be achieved through Option 2.
However they also state that this option, which includes a new Stockbridge link road, has the ‘greatest environmental consequences’ and have called for much greater detail about the design of environmental mitigation measures before a preferred option is selected.
The draft response is due to be discussed by WSCC’s Environmental and Community Services Select Committee on Thursday, September 15, at County Hall, starting at 10.30am. The meeting is open to the public and will be webcast live on the council’s website.
Although the county council is a statutory consultee, Government ministers will make the final decision selecting a preferred option.
John O’Brien, WSCC’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “After decades of us campaigning for various governments to invest in improvements for the A27, we are finally in a position where we have a multi-million pound commitment and several options before us.
“It’s clear that people have strong differing views on the options and will have made their own submissions to Highways England.
He added: “At the moment, we feel that Highways England has not provided enough information about the design of measures which would mitigate some of the environmental impacts and we would need to see further work done on them all.
“It’s only right that these options are scrutinised by our councillors and that their comments help inform our final response back to this very important Highways England consultation.”
The draft response concludes: “It is considered that much greater detail about the design of environmental mitigation measures, particularly for the most severe adverse environmental impacts, is needed before a preferred option is selected to demonstrate that the environmental consequences of Option 2 can be mitigated to acceptable levels.”
While it states that improving the A27 is in the best interests of the community, this ‘cannot come at any cost’ as the environment is one of the area’s greatest qualities, attracting visitors and is ‘highly valued’ by residents.
The Highways England consultation closes on Thursday, September 22.
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