The leaders of Adur and Worthing councils have issued a joint response to proposals to improve the A27 damning the consultation as a “sham” which should be halted.
Highways England has given a deadline of September 12 for views on its £69m proposal for the road through Worthing and Lancing with just one option on the table.
Modest improvements to six junctions between Durrington Hill and the Lancing Manor roundabout are proposed which would cut three minutes from journey times and, according to Highways England’s own scoring system would deliver “no significant benefit.”
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.
Now leader of Adur District Council, Cllr Neil Parkin and leader of Worthing Borough Council, Cllr Dan Humphreys have joined forces to demand better for local residents.
Cllr Parkin 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 £69m on.”
Cllr Parkin had earlier described the scheme on the table as the equivalent of “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” and said the government, which was insisting on more house building in the south, should do more to help transport infrastructure.
Cllr Humphreys added: “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.”
“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 Councils are to officially submit a response by the deadline but both leaders say they did not want the summer to pass without a campaign for force a rethink.
Both insist 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 12th September 2017 with two years of construction expected to start in 2020 if the scheme is approved.
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