In a statement to the Observer, Chichester District Council leader Tony Dignum said after consulting with his fellow cabinet members, they agree with county council leader that ‘there should be a new consultation to include the northern bypass options and that the results of the consultation should be published’.
Cllr Dignum will put forward a motion at the next cabinet meeting on January 10, asking for fellow members to agree to back a new consultation which would contain Option 4 and 5, both new northern bypasses which were dropped ahead of Highways England’s ten-week consultations between July and September.
Some will view cllr Dignum’s announcement as a significant U-turn after Chichester district councillors voted in September to back Option 2, one of the five online options Highways England is currently proposing.
However in his statement cllr Dignum said: “We were left with only the online options for the A27 around Chichester to consider during the Highways England consultation in the summer.
“We were advised that the dropping of the northern bypass options, which was done without adequate explanation or justification, was not reversible.
“This position has been completely changed by the Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Grayling, at a recent function.
“There he held open the possibility of a second round of consultations with a wider range of options if requested by an overwhelming response from residents.
“At a private meeting between Louise Goldsmith and Mr Grayling he was more specific, indicating that a joint request from the two councils (CDC and WSCC) and Andrew Tyrie MP could result in a new consultation.
“Councillor Louise Goldsmith has since already requested Highways England to undertake a new consultation to include the option of a northern bypass. “She has also requested that the results of the consultation be published.”
Cllr Dignum added: “I have consulted the district council’s cabinet members and they agree with her that there should be a new consultation to include the northern bypass options and that the results of the consultation should be published.”
The full council will be then asked to agree a similar motion at its next meeting on 24th January.
The office for Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie indicated to the Observer last week that he would not be making a statement on the A27 at this time.