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: