Multi-million pound scheme announced to improve A27

Maria Caulfield MP, Chair of the A27 Reference Group
Maria Caulfield MP, Chair of the A27 Reference Group

A bid has been announced for a £450 million government-funded scheme to dual the A27.

The business case, which is to be presented before Government Ministers by the A27 Reference Group, is looking to gain the multi-million investment for a dual carriageway between the Southerham Roundabout in Lewes and Polegate.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling with Caroline Ansell and Maria Caulfield

Transport secretary Chris Grayling with Caroline Ansell and Maria Caulfield

This scheme, which has cross party support from all of the local MPs in East Sussex, would see the 10.5 miles of single lane A27 between Lewes and Polegate finally turned into a dual carriageway.

It is hoped it would be drastically improve journey times across East Sussex for the many thousands of people who use the road each day.

The knock on effect of improved journey times would be a welcome economic boast to the county.

As Chairman of the A27 Reference Group Maria Caulfield MP has been calling for a dual carriageway A27 between her constituency towns of Lewes and Polegate.

Ms Caulfield MP said, “The A27 Reference Group has been working hard on a business case to Government showing the excellent benefits that the county and our economy would see from a dual carriageway A27 from Southerham to Polegate.

“This proposal, unlike others that have fallen apart in West Sussex, has the backing of all MPs and Councils giving us a brilliant foundation to finally dual the A27.

“Once the business case has been submitted the A27 Reference Group will be meeting with Government Ministers to enforce the message that East Sussex needs a dual carriageway on the A27. I am confident that this funding will be secured.”

Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Stephen Lloyd expressed his support of the proposals.

He said, “I and many others in Eastbourne, across the community, have been campaigning for a new A27 duel carriageway spur between Lewes and Polegate for years, and this time it’s just possible the government will listen.

“The business community are lined up with us, as are both Eastbourne Borough Council and County Hall in Lewes and the overwhelming majority of residents.

“All we need now is for the government to listen to what is a genuinely joined-up group representing the settled view of our town.

“To allocate the necessary funds so that we can have the dual carriageway Eastbourne needs, and to do so sooner rather than later.”

And Eastbourne’s former MP Caroline Ansell, who campaigned for improvements to the A27 during her time in Parliament, said, “This bid is a major milestone towards the ultimate aim of a new road that will transform Eastbourne and its surrounding area and I’m delighted with this news.

“In my time as Eastbourne’s MP, I worked tirelessly to receive funding for the A27 and was successful in securing £75 million of which £3 million has been used to work up a business case that is absolutely key to getting us to this place.

“For the first time in decades, a new road is real prospect.

“The A27 has been my top campaign since I was selected as the parliamentary candidate back in 2013 because a new road opens up to us new jobs and the new businesses which fund our hospitals, schools and provide care for the most vulnerable in our community.”

Eastbourne’s Chamber of Commerce has also welcomed the news.

Chief executive Christina Ewbank explained that the new road would be an alternative route to the existing one.

She said, “The Chamber’s delighted, this will be a huge boost to the economy of East Sussex.

“It will take the road away from the South Downs National Park. If it’s built right, surrounded by trees, we won’t even see it from the top of the Downs.

“It will take all the traffic away from the villages along the current A27.”

The Government’s Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) will allocate funds for projects from 2020-2025.

RIS 1 funded 100 major schemes across the UK with £15.2 billion of public money, being spent between 2015 and 2020.