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South Downs Society gives mixed reaction to A27 schemes

Today, 31 July, the Society issued the following press release highlighting our submitted response to Highways England’s latest proposals for the A27 at Worthing, Lancing and Sompting

National Park Society’s mixed reaction to A27 schemes

The South Downs Society’s planning expert Steve Ankers has given a lukewarm response to new plans to reduce congestion on the A27 through Worthing and Lancing.

Writing on behalf of the Society Steve, former Head of Environment for East Sussex County Council, observed that “Most of us travel by car at some stage and are well aware of the problems on this road. The Society broadly supports measures to reduce journey times for local and through traffic. Reductions in accidents, air pollution and the severance experienced by communities along the road also make it easier for people to enjoy the national park. We welcome the safeguarding of the national park highlighted in these new proposals and will hold Highways England to its word on ensuring that detailed design of any improvements will protect views from high ground in the park.”

Highways England is the company set up by government to manage the nation’s trunk road network. They are consulting through the summer on £50 million to £100 million of junction improvements to relieve congestion at this bottleneck. The company’s own costings and its legal duty to protect the national park mean that the largest scale solutions such as a northern bypass through the park or major flyovers and underpasses are not being considered. The plans now available online and at exhibitions in the area cover more modest schemes to improve traffic flow through the existing junctions.

But the Society has stopped short of fully endorsing the plans. Says Steve, “There is no integrated transport planning here. Highways England has no responsibility for railways so we’re seeing multi-million pound investment in highway schemes which will encourage more traffic to use the A27. Passengers will shift from rail to road as journey times improve in the short term and increase congestion further along the A27 at places like Arundel and Chichester.”

The plans will be shown on various dates in Worthing, Sompting and Lancing and the consultation will run until 12 September. Full documentation is on the Highways England website at:

2 thoughts on “South Downs Society gives mixed reaction to A27 schemes

  1. I’m disappointed in the society’s response to the proposed improvements to the A27 through Sompting and Worthing.

    Talk of ” integrated transport planning” sounds like someone trying to be clever. When a road needs improving it needs improving. No amount of wishful thinking is going to get enough people off that road and on to the railway.

    There are road issues in both East and West Sussex that have needed doing for as long as I can remember (I’m 74). I would like to see some improvement,

    Ron McLaren

    1. Thanks Ron. Unfortunately it has become increasingly clear that road “improvements” lead inevitably to increased traffic and more congestion and, in the case of the A27, no doubt a shift from train to car if road journeys become (temporarily) quicker. That’s not to say that no changes should ever be made, only that we should recognise that “solutions” may not always be what they seem. Others will no doubt press the case for faster through roads but we are the national park “friends” group!

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