Councils offer £20m to kick-start A27 upgrade

Highways Reporters

West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council have told the Government they are willing to consider a contribution of £20m towards bringing about a major improvement scheme for the A27 in Chichester.

Both authorities have written a joint letter to Transport Minister Stephen Hammond.

The letter asks the Government to allocate money to develop a Highways Agency scheme which will solve six traffic bottlenecks along the A27 Chichester by-pass.

It follows the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, which announced the Government wants a pipeline of Highways Agency transport schemes to be delivered between 2015 and 2019.

For many years, the County Council has lobbied for the Government to deliver schemes to improve the A27 at Chichester, Arundel, Worthing and Lancing.

The Chichester scheme, estimated to cost between £71m and £90m, would help stimulate economic growth along the West Sussex coast and create 3,000 jobs in Chichester.

It would make that stretch of the A27 safer and more reliable for local residents and make it easier for businesses to reach customers.

The County Council is also preparing plans for short-term improvements at Arundel, Worthing and Lancing as part of its A27 Action Plan which will be published later this year.

Funding for the £20m contribution would come from prudential borrowing and the allocation of future developer’s contributions between 2014 and 2018.

West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “Addressing the congestion issues along the A27 is absolutely vital for the future of West Sussex’s economy.

“We recognise in tough economic times that reduced public spending limits everybody’s ability to invest in major infrastructure projects.

“However, if we can kick-start investment now it could be worth billions to the local economy in future years.

“We hope the Transport Secretary will consider this proposal seriously and that he will share our ambition for delivering this project at the earliest opportunity.”

Chichester District Council leader Heather Caird said: “This is a unique opportunity to address the concerns of the local community about the A27 and tackle the increasing congestion problems that we face.

“Through working with the Highways Agency and WSCC, we have been able to make the bid more attractive by identifying solutions that include the allocation of future developer contributions.

“The bid is still at an early stage and much more work and consultation will be needed to find the right solution, but it is a positive step in the right direction.”

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