Signs are - what are we going to do about the A27? - discussions are taking place locally in earnest now, with Highways England (HE) holding high level stakeholder meetings in Arundel and Worthing recently. Then Friday, July 24 saw the first of the local community Worthing and Adur A27 Working Group meetings.
From what has leaked out from the HE meeting, it would appear rather than implementing the sensible recommendations put forward in the Worthing Area Strategy Development Plan, that was part of the government commissioned South Coast Corridor Multi-Modal Study. The HE were purely looking to increase the traffic capacity of the A27.
At Worthing for instance there is an option to smooth the flow of traffic to reduce congestion by modifications to roundabouts and traffic signals, yet it seems that this lower cost scheme in terms of taxpayer pounds, severance of communities and disruption, is to be discarded in favour of a selection of massively expensive full width dual carriageway proposals involving demolishing many tens of homes and possible loss of downland. And yes even the cemetery isn’t excluded – although we’re informed no graves will be affected.
This sorry state of affairs has come about simply due to successive governments’ failure to invest in the south coast railway network and to integrate all public transport modes including cycling and walking. Local government doesn’t come out of this smelling in of roses either. Failure to fully implement a local travel plan and importantly complete local walking and cycle networks, such as feeder networks to stations, hospitals and town centres has helped to increase car trips.
Implementation of Workplace Travel plans, Home working and Video conferencing can all help to reduce traffic on the road network.
The Worthing and Adur A27 Working Group meeting mentioned at the start was organised by Worthing Councillor Tom Wye and attended by a group of about 16 mainly invited councillors, business leaders and 2 residents groups, one of which was us. Although this was mainly an introduction meeting, the discussion and documents on the table was helpful in understanding what our community along the A27 might face over the next number of years.
To be clear no exact scheme has been decided as it is promised local communities would hopefully come to an agreement on that before any scheme is taken to Public Inquiry. However from what has been gathered so far the ‘improvements’ are likely to take place along the present route of the road. The preferred idea is to dual the road with massive changes to the Lyons Farm junction, and all roundabouts in Worthing and Lancing. There's also likely to be a new roundabout at the Shoreham Airport lights. There was no mention of what would happen to properties, only that land taken from Offington cemetery would be in an area where there are no graves.
Cllr Wye made a point of inviting more local groups to his meetings, but emphasised only one person from each group. So if you run a group, and your members are concerned why not attend. If not in a group form one with your neighbours. The details are:
Apply to email@example.com putting A27WG in the subject heading and request a seat on the A27 Working Group. Remember only one person per group.
You are welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with corrections, additions or suggestions. Also please let others who might be affected by the A27 scheme know of this blog / us.