Town centre management lends support to A27 Action

MAJOR investment in the A27 is needed and not short-term fixes, business figures across the Herald and Gazette area have stressed.

Wednesday, 16th July 2014, 9:00 am
Campaign leaders at the launch of A27 Action group  from left: Martin Fausset, managing director of Ricardo UK, in Shoreham, with Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb, WSCC leader Louise Goldsmith, East Worthing MP Tim Loughton, Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert and county councillor for Arundel and Wick Nigel Peters SUS-140207-112634001

Town centre managers in Worthing, Adur and Littlehampton have thrown their support behind the newly-formed A27 Action campaign, which hopes to secure significant investment in the problem road.

Worthing town centre manager Sharon Clarke said it was vital town centre businesses supported the campaign.

“Businesses need major investment in the A27, not just plasters putting over it,” she said.

“From our point of view, anything that helps people move from town to town is important and businesses should be pushing for it.”

Traffic hold-ups at key points such as Arundel frequently cause traffic to come to a standstill.

The campaign’s main aims include dualling the whole of the A27, while lobbying for improvements at each of the main junctions.

The road is one of several across the country being considered by the Government, with the campaign hoping to get the A27 to number one priority.

Littlehampton town centre regeneration officer John Edjvet said: “Improving the A27 is good news for Littlehampton. We are aware of the pinch points and how that can hold up traffic.

“The more we can do to take the stress off travelling the better it will be for holidaymakers and visitors coming into Littlehampton and will encourage repeat visits.

“This is the same for people coming to shop or do business in the town, and that is ultimately a positive in encouraging business investment.”

In Adur, one of the areas of focus is Lancing, with the group lobbying for a new junction and improvements to the Worthing to Lancing corridor.

Adur town centres manager David Steadman said: “I believe that it is important to seek every opportunity to gain improvements to the A27 for the benefit of businesses and the wider community.”

The action group is in the early stages, so there are no detailed plans regarding the specifics of improvements at present.

Mrs Clarke has urged those involved to put ideas on the table quickly and to decide on a set plan and stick to it.

She said: “When campaigns for improvements have fallen over in the past has been when there has been so many ideas of what should be done.

“The debate of where a potential bypass for Worthing could go should be done quickly. The houses on the side of the A27 have been bought and sold three times.

“It just needs a little more detail rather than being a little up in the air.”

Mrs Clarke suggested previous campaigns had seen three or four different ideas, inviting opposition from various groups.

She said: “I think businesses will get behind the campaign this time and it is important they do.”

The A27 was identified in 2013 as one six choke points affecting the efficiency of the UK’s network of trunk roads.

HM Treasury instructed the Department for Transport to undertake feasibility studies, through the Highways Agency, to determine what might be done to ease congestion at each location and unlock latent economic potential.

Alongside A27 improvement, the campaign will call for essential complementary transport strategies on the local highway network to manage traffic and encourage use of sustainable modes of transport, particularly for short journeys.

This will reduce the impact of local traffic on the A27.

The A27 Action steering group comprises leaders of Arun, Adur, Worthing and West Sussex councils, Martin Fausset, Ricardo managing director, the area’s MPs and Pieter Montyn, county council cabinet member for highways and transport.

It held a launch event at Worthing College on June 26.

Follow the progress of the campaign in the Herald and Gazette in the coming months.