Council leaders today called for a re-think after Highways England announced plans to lengthen its consultation on the A27 improvements – by just one week.
Highways England, which is responsible for upgrading this vital trunk road, is due to launch a public consultation into different improvement options in March.
West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council have been pressing Highways England to extend its planned six-week consultation to give residents, businesses and councillors the chance to consult on all of the options to improve the A27 in Chichester.
Following Highway England’s announcement that its consultation would be extended by one week Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said it was “extremely disappointing”.
Louise added: “People will continue to demand longer and I support that and there is still no definitive start date – this is extremely disappointing.
“I believe when these proposals are put out to the public for their views they will be complex and detailed and there could be up to seven different versions of them.
“We, and all the residents, businesses and communities that we represent, deserve to be given the time to study them all in detail before we make our official responses and I simply do not believe that seven weeks is long enough.”
Tony Dignum, leader of Chichester District Council, said: “This is just not good enough. Residents, businesses and communities across West Sussex must be given adequate time to share their views about improvements to the A27.
“Local views will be vital in helping the Transport Secretary come to a decision about the right route and we will continue to press Highways England to extend the consultation further.
“There will be no second chances for us to get this right. When the consultation launches this March I would urge everyone interested to take the time to study all the options and to make their voices heard.
“As a council we will discuss the options fully during the consultation period, before informing Highways England of our response.”
Highways England announced its week long extension following a meeting with both council leaders at Chichester District Council yesterday. At the meeting Highways England outlined their plans for how the consultation would work.