A27 timeline: A stop-start saga

Hopes are high that a solution to years of congestion can be found
Hopes are high that a solution to years of congestion can be found

With the long list of potential new A27 options published in today’s Observer newspapers, we recap on the recent history of the project, which is yet to get off the ground.

Click here for the new route options proposed by Systra following the work of the Build a Better A27 group.

The Chichester Observer front page on March 2, 2017, announcing Chris Grayling's decision to axe the scheme

The Chichester Observer front page on March 2, 2017, announcing Chris Grayling's decision to axe the scheme

Pick up today’s Chichester, Bognor or Midhurst and Petworth Observer to have your say on the options.

December 2014

With the previous Government improvement scheme having been scrapped ten years before, new central investment was confirmed in the Road Investment Strategy (RIS), where it was stated that four junctions on the Chichester bypass would be upgraded.

January 2016

After it was revealed that Highways England was looking at options for building a new A27 to the north of Chichester through Lavant, maps showing seven route options, including two for a northern bypass, were leaked and published.

March 2016

Just days before Highways’ public consultation was due to start, all offline options, including those north, were dropped.

The public consultation was delayed until the summer and extended from four to six weeks.

July 2016

The public consultation started on July 14 and was narrowed down to five options, all for making changes to the existing 3.5 mile stretch, costing between £47m to £280m.

They ranged from slight junction changes in Option 1 to the most comprehensive and expensive Option 2, which would have seen flyovers and major junctions alterations and a new ‘Stockbridge link road’ built south of the current A27.

February 2017

Transport secretary Chris Grayling sensationally cancelled the Chichester A27 scheme, blaming the ‘withdrawal of support by the local councils for the shortlisted options and significant local campaigns’.

March 2016

The public consultation results, published in March 2016 just after the scheme was axed, showed that 47 per cent of the 4,869 responded voted for ‘No Option’, with 31 per cent voting in favour of ‘Option 2’.

The same month saw community leaders and campaign groups meet and pledge to work together on a fresh solution and the Build a Better A27 (BABA27) group was formed.

September 2017

After it was suddenly revealed that Option 2 was still on the table for Chichester if residents agreed to it, the BABA27 group voted to turn it down and county and district councillors then formally rejected the funding in favour of pursuing a community solution and bidding for the next round of government roads funding.

December 2017

Systra appointed as independent consultants and, working to the guidelines set by BABA27, have now produced a long list of varied options which residents will now decide which are worth modelling into fully costed options.

May/June 2018

The deadline for the new A27 option or options to be submitted in time to try to secure RIS2 funding.

Here is WSCC leader Louise Goldsmith’s view on the project: https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/transport/residents-urged-to-have-their-say-on-suggestions-for-a27-1-8416148