The cancellation means that the dreadful congestion experienced by motorists everyday on this road will now only get worse. This is not only felt especially at peak times, but also on the alternative routes used locally by motorists avoiding the A27.
We have not been given a proper explanation as to why the minister has reached this decision. But to suggest this is because of a lack of support from West Sussex County Council is just wrong.
The County Council has long campaigned for improvements to the A27 at Chichester and has committed £10 million towards the scheme.
These funds have been committed to the improvements for some time and they remain so. Let there be no doubt over that.
I wrote to the minister at the end of January – one of my many letters and emails calling for an open and transparent consultation process and clear communications with the public. The letter – which can be read here – clearly sets out our position and in no way withdrew support for the scheme.
What the letter did say – and these are things we have said repeatedly – is that people should have an opportunity to voice their concerns and preferences on every aspect of the scheme, the consultation results should be published promptly and a decision on the scheme should be reached as soon as possible.
The letter also stressed that we would work with Highways England and the Department for Transport on their preferred option – whatever that might be – provided it meets the strategic objectives which were originally set out for the benefit of the residents of West Sussex.
What is important now is that we all unite together to do all we can to persuade the minister to reconsider his decision given the evident need of investment for the infrastructure of our county.
I am today urging people to come together and work towards finding a solution that will meet with the approval of our community. This is the only way we can provide the Secretary of State with the reassurance he needs. I would welcome a meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss the matter further.
I know many people will be very upset with this latest news, but please be assured I am fully committed to working with everyone in our communities and Chichester District Council to help find a solution for Chichester.