MP to push ‘urgently’ to secure A27 funding for Chichester

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan
Chichester MP Gillian Keegan

Chichester MP Gillian Keegan is to urgently seek a meeting with the Minister of State for the Department of Transport in a bid to secure funding for an A27 upgrade at Chichester.

It follows a meeting of Mrs Keegan, Tony Dignum, leader of Chichester District Council, and Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, last week to discuss how to respond to the ‘disappointing’ letter received from Highways England.

The letter rejected both concept options for the A27 Chichester developed by consultants Systra after months of discussion by the Build A Better A27 (BABA27) group, including the preferred mitigated northern route supported by both councils.

Highways England had said both concepts would cost in the region of £500million and did not represent value for money, the northern route was contrary to national policy and the southern upgrade was not technically possible.

In a joint statement released yesterday (Wednesday), both councils confirmed their policy position on supporting both the mitigated northern route and the mitigated southern route with the MP.

A spokesman said: “It was agreed that Gillian Keegan would urgently seek a meeting with Jesse Norman MP, Minister of State for the Department for Transport, to ask for funding from the Government’s next Roads Investment Strategy programme (RIS2: which covers the period 2020-2025) to undertake further technical work based on the policies of both councils to improve the A27 Chichester.

“This could then form the basis for public consultation on the options and lead to future funding for a major Highways England scheme.”

Commenting after the meeting, Louise Goldsmith said: “It was a very positive discussion and we all agreed on the importance of securing Government support for a sustainable long term solution for the A27 that has the support of the community.

“We are still awaiting further information from Highways England regarding their reasons for turning down the BABA27 schemes and we have asked for a copy of their consultant’s findings.”

Tony Dignum added: “Improvements to the A27 are absolutely vital for this area and I am committed to working with the community, the county council and our MP to help achieve the best possible solution for our residents.”