Best4Chichester is convinced that, whichever solution results from the consideration of Chichester’s A27 traffic problems. The debate should be conducted in a dispassionate and unbiased manner.
Most importantly, the chosen solution, while meeting the remit of Highways England to provide a major improvement to the Strategic Road Network in the south of England in support of growth in the region, should also provide benefits to the citizens of the City and surrounding region in the long term.
In addition, it should avoid as much disruption as possible during the construction phase.
It is a simple principle, often not taken into account by directly-affected parties, that any new traffic arrangements should aim to provide the greatest benefit for the greatest number. There are two basic choices:
A Northern Bypass
A new northern bypass, while of benefit to many local and long distance road users, will impinge on those who live in the parishes through which the new road passes, both during the construction period and while it is in operation. The concern of those likely to be directly affected is understandable. However, it is worth noting that anyone heading for the new A27 from the north would experience an uninterrupted and shorter journey, while also helping to relieve congestion in the City.
Improvements to the Existing A27
Any improvements based on the existing A27 will also have consequences, particularly for those who live south and east of the road, not least the many residents of, and visitors to, the Manhood peninsula.
All these people will have to endure the disruption and upheaval to traffic resulting from the 40 month construction period, and are likely to have permanently restricted movements at a number of the junctions on the upgraded road in the long term.
Numbers of People Likely to be Affected
To give some idea of the numbers of those possibly affected by the chosen option, we have gone to the figures for voters very recently provided by the Boundary Commission to the local Council. These show the numbers for every local parish in 2015 and include a forecast for 2021, which is the approximate date for the completion of the projected upgrade of the A27.
Best4Chichester has looked at the figures for those parishes and wards most likely to be directly affected by the two basic options. Further-lying parishes were not included as these were considered not to be directly affected by the construction and operation of an upgraded A27. Residents of the central areas of Chichester have also not been included as there is likely to be a balance between those adversely or favourably affected by the chosen option in terms of less congestion and improved air quality.
Using the latest figures:
- if a northern option is selected, the most directly affected voter numbers along the route total about 4700 today, growing to 5300 in 2021;
- if a southern option were to be adopted, those directly affected are estimated to add up to about 22500 today, increasing to 24,000 by 2021.
Best4Chichester will be pressing for the consultation process to take these figures into account for both the construction and operation phases of the schemes.
When Highways England comes to a judgment of the relative cost benefits and other parameters of each option, it will recommend a preferred solution to the Secretary of State.
Best4Chichester will do its best to ensure that this solution provides the greatest benefits for the greatest number of our citizens.