The public consultations for Chichester’s A27 improvement project has been further delayed, it has this afternoon been announced.
The seven-week consultation was due to begin this month with village halls already booked.
But today Highways England announced that it could be pushed back to the summer.
Council leaders said they feel ‘let down and very disappointed’ by the news.
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “This consultation was originally due to start last autumn but has been dogged by delays - causing considerable uncertainty and concern for our affected communities.
“I am frustrated at this news from Highways England that the consultation has been paused and I feel let down.
“We have been seeking to get clarity about future consultation dates. We intend to continue to do everything to get the answers our residents want on the way forward.
“This is an issue of critical importance to communities in Chichester and across West Sussex. I am urging Highways England to explain the reasons for the delay and to resolve any issues as a matter of urgency.”
Today’s announcement comes the day after Highways bosses refused to say when the consultations would be held but did not mention any delay
According to the county council, Highways England released a statement confirming a delay in work ‘to identify and finalise options and said a full public consultation would take place in late spring/early summer.
Tony Dignum, leader of Chichester District Council, said: “The community deserves answers about why Highways England has again delayed a consultation it has been promising since last year.
“Louise and I shall be seeking a meeting with Highways England as a matter of urgency to fully explore the reasons behind this decision and to find a way forward as soon as possible.”
The two councils have been pressing Highways England to give residents, businesses and councillors confirmation of the options and details of the consultation process to allow the local communities to engage.
While the agency has revealed an overall timetable for improvement work it has not set a firm date for the consultation.
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