In an open letter to Secretary of State Andrew Jones MP, Best4Chichester claims residents have been ‘cheated of a chance to see the chaotic traffic situation resolved once and for all’.
In March it was announced that all other options away from upgrading the existing stretch, including new northern and partial southern bypasses, had been scrapped.
“Since Mr Jones’ announcement, there has been growing anger and discontent among many of the people in the Chichester area who feel they have been cheated of a chance to see the chaotic traffic situation around our city resolved once and for all,” Chris Page wrote on behalf of Best4Chichester.
“Having initiated a multi-million pound investment by Highways England that came up with seven options, at a stroke three of those were summarily dismissed just a few days before the well-trailed consultation process was to begin. No reasons for this sudden change have been forthcoming despite enquiries under FOI.”
The letter echoed the Observer and MP Andrew Tyrie’s concerns that the project, which will now focus on upgrading four junctions, has been scaled back. Mr Page called it ‘yet another sticking plaster solution, which will inevitably fail’.
“This letter calls for the original consultation process to be reinstated, with all the options back on the table, so that all of the people of Chichester and its environs can express their opinion democratically, in the knowledge of the relative costs and benefits... of all seven of the original studies,” he wrote.
The letter has had support from Oving Parish Council. Chairman Sjoerd Schuyleman said: “We too want to see all seven options back on the table. Tinkering with the current Chichester bypass is not a viable option.”
More than 4,000 people, however, signed Chichester Deserves Better’s petition against a northern bypass.
The repeatedly delayed public consultations are expected to happen in June. It’s unclear how many options have been brought forward.
The latest estimate for the Chichester A27 project is between £122m and £181m - ‘significantly less’ than the figure given to councillors, Mr Tyrie has said.