Council Leader drops A27 consultation bombshell

Councillors and members of the public at the Chichester District Council meeting on Tuesday 26 January were told that there will only be one consultation site for the whole of the Manhood Peninsula.  That was to be at North Mundham.

Chris Page of the Best 4 Chichester campaign said it was ‘a smack in the face’ for all those who live south of Chichester and bear the brunt of the traffic delays on the A27.  Members of the Best 4 Chichester group had gone with Parish Council representatives from North Mundham, Oving and Sidlesham to question the Council about the decision-making process. Tony Dignum, Leader of the Council, assured them that there would be a vote of the entire Council when the details of the A27 upgrade were debated.  Best 4 Chichester wanted to know that the views of every ward were going to be heard.

Roland Higgins from Runcton said ‘There had been a lot of comment about a Northern route even before the start of Consultation.  The comments make it look as if only Lavant and north Chichester are going to be affected by the proposals.  In fact all of the proposals come with some cost for local residents.  Once the details are out Best 4 Chichester expects those who cross the A27 on a daily basis to become a lot more involved.

‘Residents of the Birdham,  Itchenor, the Witterings, Bracklesham, Selsey, Earnley, Sidlesham, Hunston, Donnington  and Bognor  are all going to be hugely affected by the proposals’ said Roland Higgins.  ‘To give only two days of consultation at North Mundham Village Hall for the whole of the Manhood Peninsula is not fair.  We are saying the many thousands who live south of the city must not be ignored’

Councillors were told by Tony Dignum that he expected the consultation to start around 12 March.     Chris Page stated that as soon as the dates and venues were confirmed they would be put on the website.  ‘Residents can find out how to ensure their voices are heard by visiting www.Best4Chichester website.’

Graeme Barrett CDC Councillor for West Wittering said ‘There are well over 20,000 residents on the Manhood Peninsula. It is therefore imperative that the residents in the main settlement areas of Selsey and The Witterings have the opportunity to get a clear understanding of the options.’

‘The Peninsula attracts large numbers of visitors during the summer months which local businesses are very reliant upon.  Tourism is a major part of  our local economy, we must know that the proposals safe guard businesses and jobs in the Manhood Peninsula.’

On the matter of having an accessible Consultation site he went on to say, ‘Access to North Mundham is poor for many of the local residents. To allow a balanced understanding it is essential that Consultation Centres be set up in both locations. For Selsey there is the Selsey Centre and for the Witterings either the Village Hall in East Wittering or Bracklesham Barn in Bracklesham. All have easy access and good parking.’

‘WSCC and CDC have negotiated an extra week for the consultation process.  Let us use that week wisely and have consultation centres which are accessible to residents of the coastal communities’.