Worthing A27 improvements are being redesigned by Highways England

There was a glimmer of hope for drivers after Highways England confirmed it was taking a fresh look at the Worthing Bypass.

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 10:24 am

Last week, the Herald reported the Bypass Not A27 Throughpass’ call for more Government investment in the Worthing scheme after it pledged more money to building a bypass on the Arundel stretch of the A27.

In response, Adriana Chirovici, a project manager from Highways England – the Government body which would build the bypass – confirmed it was redesigning the previous plans.

She said: “Following the inclusion of the A27 Worthing and Lancing improvements scheme in the Government’s latest Road Investment Strategy, published in March 2020, Highways England has continued to work with the Department for Transport and our partners in West Sussex to develop a range of potential improvements for the area.

The Bypass Not A27 Throughpass resident action group, pictured in 2018

“Over the summer, we worked closely with West Sussex County Council and Adur and Worthing Councils to identify a package of potential improvements for the area. We will now consider these options further to ensure that our plans can realise the greatest benefits and provide the best value for money. Our proposals are being developed and we aim to hold a public consultation on future plans in the next couple of years.”

The previous plan included improving the current A27 route through Worthing and Lancing – but the project has remained in limbo since 2017 when it was rejected by the public.

When asked if the improvements would differ from the previous plans, Highways said there were ‘similarities at certain junctions’ but ‘overall they are different to the proposals previously consulted on in 2017’.

They could not confirm if the budget would be more than the £100m allocated last time – a fraction of the reported £450m the latest Arundel Bypass route would cost – as it was ‘currently under discussion’.

Jack Delbridge, chairman of the bypass resident group, said it was ‘encouraging’ Highways was re-evaluating the scheme but ‘deeply disappointing’ it seemed to be focused on the existing route.

He went on to say: “It seems pointless for Highways England to spend more taxpayers’ money on consultations and further ways of trying to improve the A27 online, when we all know that a bypass is the only solution.

“Over the thirty years that a bypass has been considered, millions of pounds has been spent but we are no nearer to getting a bypass for Worthing, Sompting and Lancing.”

The Bypass Not A27 Throughpass resident action group have drawn up their own plans, which they estimate would cost £600million.

Mr Delbridge said the premise was ‘expanding existing roads through the South Downs’.

He went on to say: “Our suggestion is a route using Long Furlong (an existing road, often closed due to the number of accidents), joining the A24 to Washington (an existing dual carriageway) and then using the A283 bypassing Steyning (an existing road) re-joining the A27 at the Shoreham flyover.”