The maps were sent in to the Observer and Spirit FM by an anonymous source, and as part of our joint campaign for transparency we are publishing them in tandem now, ahead of any official release.
We would like to stress these are draft maps only, which are subject to change. (you can view all seven maps by clicking play on the slideshow)
Option Four and Five show a new route north of Chichester, diverting off at Fishbourne and through Lavant, where a major new junction would join the A286, run through Goodwood and join back with the current A27 just before Tangmere and Boxgrove.
The first four options all show upgrades to the current route, but perhaps of most surprise is the final option, which shows part of a new southern route which would cut through Runcton, Oving and Tangmere.
The maps have not been sent to us by Highways England, who insist they are only drafts and are subject to change.
Highways England has accused both the Observer and Spirit FM of ‘irresponsibility’ in publishing the maps ahead of their official release in the Spring.
But we have taken the view that because they have been widely distributed amongst councillors, members of the public and at meetings, they are already in the public domain, so any irresponsibility lies with Highways England for distributing them ahead of completion.
Together with Spirit FM, the Observer has had repeated requests to highways bosses to release these maps officially turned down.
The first four options (Option One, Two, Two with alternative link road, and Three) all show upgrades of the existing route to the south of Chichester, with the construction of new junctions at all five roundabouts along the stretch.
The two options that have caused most concern amongst Chichester Deserves Better campaigners, and those living north of the city, are options Four and Five.
They both propose a new northern bypass, with one appearing to run north, and the other south, of housing at West Broyle.
Both show a major new roundabout junction on land between north Chichester and Lavant, which would link the A286. Both then seem to follow the same path along the Goodwood Straight, just north of the Airfield, and then join the current A27 just east of the flyover for the A285.
The final option proposes using the same current A27, but then diverting south at Runcton, through land at Drayton, Oving and Tangmere, where it would rejoin the current trunk road.
It is understood all seven options, with possible changes, will be brought forward for public consultations in the spring.
Currently that consultation is scheduled for just six weeks, but due to the huge affect any of the routes will have on our residents, we are now calling on Highways England to extend that time frame so everyone can be properly heard.
Both the Observer and Spirit FM agree that something must be done to improve the A27, but only after a full and public consultation process.
A spokesman for Highways England said: “The maps published today by Spirit FM and the Chichester Observer show early drafts of technical proposals we have shared with stakeholders.
“They do not fully reflect our current plans and are still subject to further change.
“Publishing them in this form is irresponsible and risks causing needless concern.
“As we have said many times, we will put all of our shortlisted options to the public for their views this spring as soon as they are finalised.
“Our starting point for improving the A27 near Chichester are the long-standing proposals for a series of junction upgrades along the existing route of the A27 and the work we are currently doing will help to us assess if that remains the best option.
“We genuinely want to hear what people think about the finalised options, and we remain on course to run a public consultation this spring.”
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