‘Sham’ A27 consultation must be halted, council leaders argue

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The leaders of Adur and Worthing councils have called for a ‘sham’ A27 improvements consultation to be halted and re-run with further options.

Highways England has put forward just one £69million proposal to tweak six key junctions between Worthing and Lancing.

But councillor Neil Parkin and councillor Dan Humphreys have joined forces to campaign for a rethink.

Mr Parkin, Adur District Council leader, said: “Highways England say they want to consult with us but we say this is a sham.”

“By not allowing the public to weigh up options and see full costings how are we to make any kind of decision?

“All I do know is the current scheme on the table is barely worth the disruption and certainly not worth spending £69million on.”

Modest improvements to six junctions between Durrington Hill and the Lancing Manor roundabout are proposed which would cut three minutes from journey times but, according to Highways England’s own scoring system, would deliver no ‘significant benefits’.

In its consultation document the agency alludes to more expensive and radical solutions, such as underpasses and flyovers but dismisses them as too expensive without further explanation.

Mr Humphreys, Worthing Borough Council leader, said: “The more I listened to officials explaining the scheme at the launch of the consultation the more angry I became.

“Highways England do not seem to be taking us seriously. Our questions were met with an ‘experts know best’ response while there was no explanation about why other options hadn’t been explored,” said.

“The current consultation should be halted and a proper one, involving other options and explanations started afresh. The agency must have those plans and calculations so let’s seem them.”

The leaders insisted it is not for the councils to submit plans but for Highways England to give local residents, businesses and politicians real choice and real consultation.

Consultation ends on September 12 with two years of construction expected to start in 2020 if the scheme is approved.