Lyminster bypass delay could impede £14.8m A259 works

The A259 will be subject to �14.8million works, including the dualling of this section of the carriageway SUS-151216-084812001
The A259 will be subject to �14.8million works, including the dualling of this section of the carriageway SUS-151216-084812001
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Highways bosses are hoping hiccups in delivering a Lyminster bypass will not see long-awaited improvements to the A259 delayed.

Construction on £14.8million works to the A259 was scheduled to start next year, following a successful consultation in January.

But issues in bringing forward the southern section of the Lyminster bypass could put a spanner in the works, as the business case for delivery of the A259 works assumes the bypass will be built.

Littlehampton councillor Dr James Walsh told yesterday’s joint east Arun area committee meeting the revelation had left councillors part of the highways sub-group ‘stunned’.

He said: “We were stunned when the paper was tabled. It merely said in a three-line sentence that the advertised start date for the A259 of quarter three of 2016/17 was unlikely to be achievable and a more realistic start date was late 2018, subject to the successful completion of the A284.

“We’ve never had the linkage between the bypass and the A259. The sub-group unanimously felt that was unacceptable.”

The committee heard a chain reaction of events had led to the current position.

North Littlehampton developers Persimmon, tasked with delivery of the southern section of the bypass, encountered issues with capacity of the sewerage network.

This has led to a delay in building the required number of homes to deliver the road.

With West Sussex County Council needing to compulsorily purchase land to construct the northern section, question marks over the southern section could leave it open to challenge from landowners.

A legal issue with county’s planning application led it to be withdrawn earlier this year. A full application is now expected to be lodged next summer.

Highways officers told the committee they would seek talks with Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, which is providing funding for the projects, to discuss the way forward.

They hope the business case for the A259, described as being stronger than that of the Chichester A27 improvements, will not need to be redrawn.

But they warned the ‘worst-case’ scenario would see the scheme delayed as Dr Walsh had suggested.

East Preston and Ferring county councillor Peter Evans said it would be a ‘big call’ to delay the A259 scheme, given frustrations of residents regularly stuck in congestion.

He added: “It’s sad to see this getting bogged down over the sewerage capacity.”

Click here for more on the background to the A259 project.

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