A27 bypass for Worthing ‘may never happen’

Heavy traffic on the A27 has lead to calls for a Worthing bypass
Heavy traffic on the A27 has lead to calls for a Worthing bypass

SHOREHAM drivers face good news and bad news on the A27 heading west.

Major improvements to the A27 are to go ahead in Chichester, but not in Worthing and Lancing.

At the latest full West Sussex County Council meeting, members discussed the lack of concrete plans for a large-scale bypass for Worthing and Lancing, despite the need for significant improvements.

Cabinet member Pieter Montyn said: “If we are looking for a brand new bypass from end to end (of West Sussex), we are not going to get it.”

According to Mr Montyn, the fact Chichester had secured joint funding with the Highways Agency meant work could go ahead there.

Mr Montyn was responding to Dr James Walsh’s question, in which he called for ‘wholesale improvements’ of the area’s ‘deficient highways infrastructure’.

Dr Walsh said: “It is noteworthy that the previous scheme was cancelled by Sir Peter Bottomley when he was the minister for transport.”

Mr Montyn described the issue of A27 improvement as ‘a long and vexed question’.

He explained Highways Agency boss Graham Dallon and roads minister Steven Hammond told him a study would go ahead in the 2015 to 2019 spending period into what was needed at Worthing, but there would be no full-scale bypass.

Dr Walsh said: “Appearing to do something by tinkering with junctions, with roundabouts and white paint on the roads at Worthing and Arundel will do little if anything to improve traffic flow.”

Mr Montyn pointed out the A27 was owned by the Highways Agency, and not the county council.

Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley said the problem was some people in Worthing wanted a road running through the Downs.

He said: “That desire has caused no effective action in 40 years.”

Sir Peter said such a route was not viable economically or environmentally, nor would it solve the area’s traffic problems.

He explained his ideal solution was an underground road, or even a bypass over the sea, although he admitted the latter was unlikely.

MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, Tim Loughton, described Worthing’s chances of getting a bypass as ‘ambitious but still a possibility’.

He added that one reason Chichester had succeeded was that it had presented a ‘shovel-ready plan’ to the Highways Agency.