A27 gets £350 million improvement pledge

THE A27 is in line for £350 million of improvements as part of a Government pledge to tackle the country’s most congested roads.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander made the announcement on Monday, as part of a £15.2 billion road improvement scheme.

A bypass at Arundel and improvements between Worthing and Lancing are planned, with dualling at Worthing ‘certainly on the cards’ if there is public support.

Speaking in the Commons after the announcement, Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley said: “There was clearly support for dualling in Worthing and either side of it.

“There are clear benefits for safety, in air pollution reduction, and for environmental protection for the other roads and the countryside.

“Were the Dutch to come to the A27, they would say, ‘why haven’t you put this dual carriageway in a long time ago’?”

There is no clear plan at this stage as to how the money will be specifically spent, with full consultation to take place.

But Mr McLoughlin assured East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton that dualling through Worthing was a possibility.

Mr Loughton said: “There will be dancing in the streets of Lancing, Sompting and Worthing this evening, not least amid the static traffic on the A27 itself.

“For the avoidance of doubt, will he (Mr McLoughlin) confirm that the option of full dualling through Worthing, the largest town in Sussex, is very much on the table as part of his announcement?”

The Transport Secretary replied: “I do not encourage anybody to dance on the roads.

“On the point about dualling the area, that is certainly on the table. It is for local people to show their enthusiasm for such a scheme, so that we can move it forward.”

The funding pledge comes after months of campaigning from the A27 Action group.

Comprising MPs, business leaders and councillors, the group had invited Mr Mcloughlin to see the problems for himself during a recent visit.

West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “It is fantastic news and we’d like to thank all businesses who signed up to the campaign for their help and provided evidence through the survey and case studies.

“Now we are keen to continue working with our partners and the Government on options for addressing the key blockages at Arundel, Worthing, Lancing to achieve dualling along the A27 corridor.”

The news was welcomed by Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tina Tilley, who stressed the importance of continued campaigning to ensure the Government’s pledge was followed through.

She said: “While the business voice has been listened to on this occasion, it is also important that we continue the pressure to make sure it will happen and the result of the improvements won’t just push the problems further along the line.

“It is great news and will improve the prosperity of businesses. We will continue to support the campaign.”