On Tuesday 25 July the first consultation opened in Worthing with Highway England’s announcement of the A27 Worthing, Sompting and Lancing improvement scheme at a cost of 69 million pounds.
What are the benefits for residents, according to Highways England? Asaving of 3 minutes? That makes the cost 23 million pounds per minute and after two years of roadworks, there will be no significant difference - only more traffic. We also need to take into account that there will be more traffic lights, with more lanes for traffic to fill while waiting, with more emissions being poured from the traffic further polluting the air we have to live in.
In the proposed plan there will be new traffic lights at Salvington Hill and Offington roundabout meaning that whatever time of day residents travel along this section of the A27 within a 24 hour period, people will, at some stage, have to stop for these lights therefore emitting more pollution where at present, except when the traffic is heavy, journeys can be made without delay and with pollution at a minimal level.
The more recent announcement of the New Monks Farm development to incorporate 600 homes, a school and a large Ikea store can only add to the problems of congestion and pollution, especially as the new plan (not mentioned in the general A27 option) is shown to include a new traffic light controlled roundabout!
Following the Government’s recent announcement regarding pollution, and that electric cars only will be sold after 2040, they also announced the need for safer zones within our cities and towns. This should apply in this area. Now.
Highways England only have provisional figures regarding pollution levels along the A27. This is a disgrace when they bring facts and figures to a public consultation they have planned this for more than two years and yet cannot provide residents with actual figures regarding the pollution levels.
Figures obtained by Worthing Borough Council already show that pollution levels along many parts of the A27 are too high and at Grove Lodge, where many teenagers attend college, levels are dangerous.
The only solution for the residents of Worthing, Sompting and Lancing is for a bypass using the route around Long Furlong, A24 to Washington and then bypassing the north of Steyning. Let the Government show they are serious about safer towns and make Worthing, Sompting and Lancing one of the first to be safer to live in.
We are told by both of Worthing’s MPs, elected to represent all of Worthing, Lancing and Sompting that the cost is too great for a bypass to be built. Highways England have not provided any details of how much this option would cost.
What cost do they put on the lives of constituents. Pollution is a silent killer, we cannot see it and we only know it is shortening the lives of many people. If money can be found to save an ancient monument like Stonehenge from being destroyed from pollution then surely the Government should protect its people from harm. Surely people’s lives are the most important factor for any government.
We want both our Members of Parliament - Tim Loughton and Sir Peter Bottomley to fight for Worthing, Lancing and Sompting’s residents. We want our MPs, as their predecessor Sir Terrence Higgins did – to campaign and fight for a proper bypass for Worthing. Do not waste 69 million pounds on a scheme that will not work. A Bypass is the only solution to the A27 problem in this area. If you support this view, have a look at the website www.bypassnota27throughpass.org
Chair of Bypass not A27 Throughpass
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