A27 funding issues

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ARE there two MPs called Nick Herbert? Local media reports advise us that a Nick Herbert MP is to chair a meeting to examine funding sources, public and private, for improvements to the A27 in Sussex.

Yet, the Nick Herbert MP that I know did everything he possibly could to drive away a proposed £200 million infrastructure investment in Arun district, an investment that would have included a substantial contribution towards an Arundel Bypass.

Transport minister Phillip Hammond brought our local infrastructure deficit into sharp focus when he advised the recent delegation from Sussex that, although there was no funding available for an Arundel Bypass, if it was possible to get developer contributions the government would be more willing to look at doing something.

It was a cold dose of reality for our democratically-elected representatives but will it make any difference? Will they just go into denial? Or will they decide to wait another decade for the infrastructure fairy to wave her magic wand?

Arun District Council has steadfastly refused to link the district’s housing requirements with improvements to the A27 at Arundel and has failed spectacularly to make any meaningful case to government for improvements to the A27 over the last 8 years; presumably to avoid the risk of associated development.

Can we now trust our democratically-elected representatives to genuinely establish whether any of Arun’s three Local Development Framework (LDF) options can offer a meaningful developer contribution towards an Arundel Bypass? ...and before Arun District Council determines any pending planning applications like those in North Littlehampton?

Would failure on the part of Arun District Council to ask such an obvious question, that is very much in the public interest, provide grounds for legal challenge to the LDF at a later date? No doubt, residents in North Littlehampton and Bersted will be monitoring that one closely.

Nick Herbert has consistently refused to consider the possibility of a new settlement at Ford Airfield (a mile from his home) with the open mind that that we have every right to expect of a responsible MP. How else will he find a developer contribution substantial enough to leverage an Arundel Bypass?

Tony Dixon

Barons Close, Westergate