Ideas flow at first A27 Community Workshop in Chichester

A holistic approach. A scheme devised by local people. Securing overseas expertise and eventually Government funding again.

The first A27 workshop started to nail down some first ideas after the initial gathering earlier this month (pictured)
The first A27 workshop started to nail down some first ideas after the initial gathering earlier this month (pictured)

Just some of the many ideas that came from the very first A27 Community Workshop in Chichester.

Around 100 parish, district and county councillors, resident and business groups and campaigners met at Chichester College to put forward some embryonic plans for a bold, community-led, better A27.

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Attendees were split into tables of around ten to thrash out a number of objectives and initial ideas.

Tables were asked to give three answers to four key questions: Three guiding principals; expectations; the perfect solution; and anything out of scope.

Answers included respecting all views to find a general consensus for a scheme that is in the best interests of Chichester and its surrounding residents.

The general agreement was that nothing should be considered out of scope at this stage, now that the £250m ceiling of allocated Government money had been pulled, along with five options which again received criticism.

Relieving congestion while respecting the environment, and producing a scheme that did not harm those living along or south of the current A27 were also highlighted as priorities.

Taking transport in the city as a whole also featured.

The workshops have been organised by West Sussex County Council in partnership with Chichester District Council.

County council leader Louise Goldsmith said afterwards she had been a ‘little nervous’ before the first workshop, but that she was heartened by the enthusiasm and passion for the community taking ownership of its busiest road.

Cllr Goldsmith said: “It is not for West Sussex County Council to be as we were in the past but now to listen to you and work with you.

“It’s your voice because everyone uses the A27, it’s in all our lives.

“Chichester District Council is also putting money in and we have allocated £100,000. It’s the right thing to do for all the residents.”

Cllr Goldsmith said transport and planning experts from outside the UK would be brought in eventually, as agreed by the workshop, and said the next one would be in around seven weeks’ time.

Parish councils will now feed details, and take ideas from parishioners, with a smaller workshop already planned at the Fishbourne Centre on April 21.