“A” 27 “Improvements”, Another Useless, Unambitious Sop.
“no more half-hearted attempts to fob us off. We want the problem as a whole attacked. The “A” 27 from the east of Lancing and west of Chichester needs to be confronted as one problem”
The “A” 27 between Lancing and Chichester is a walking talking example of the contempt with which we are held by our politicians. The latest attempt to put a sticking plaster on the problem is as laughable as it is inadequate.
Every day, hundreds of thousands of local citizens have their lives blighted by this relic of a bygone age. Commuting is a blood-pressure inducing horror. You have to allocate 30 minutes for journeys which would take 10 minutes in a civilised country if you have to cross the “A” 27. Roundabouts are everywhere on this main South Coast artery. If you are travelling through the area on business or as a tourist and find your journey miserable, your flight lost, a family wedding or funeral missed or a new contract lost, you must think what cattle must live in this area that for half a century they’ve meekly accepted this daily mayhem. Small towns are overrun during rush hour as drivers turn off the beaten track to try and find some escape.
And now we are asked to give our views on a wrinkle of a scheme that won’t start until 2021 and take two years to finish. It is a badge of shame for the areas MPs. Just what have they been doing that there is no end in sight? Not one of them has had a vision big enough to confront the problem then solve it with ambition and élan, and a big dollop of our taxes. And what do they say to constituents when driving to Arundel from Worthing, where the dual-carriageway just suddenly stops and traffic has to cram into one small lane? Can they keep a straight face when admitting this didn’t happen last week, but donkey’s years ago?
Pipsqueak mouse of a plan
If you travel on the roads of Europe which most of us have now, you will have seen great schemes that have ended miserable transport bottlenecks. Drive towards the South of France and you will drive over the magnificent Viaduct at Milau, which liberated the town and area beneath. Or drive into Geneva, and see how the local politicians insisted on hugely expensive schemes which drove roads through mountains to make sure traffic would flow. You can repeat this all over Europe and the U.S.
You might say that this was very expensive. Sure it was, but if a scheme is going to last for about 200 years, that makes it affordable and sensible. Now we are asked to comment on the latest Highways England plan. The letter outlining this pipsqueak mouse of a plan seeks extensive feedback from locals. Let me offer them this opinion.
Citizens of this area want no more half-hearted attempts to fob us off. We want the problem as a whole attacked with aggression and imagination. The “A” 27 from the east of Lancing and west of Chichester needs to be confronted as one problem. So give us one all-encompassing plan. And not one inch of the South Downs should be at risk. If that means tunnelling under Worthing or building a bridge over it, so be it. If nobody can see a sensible place to put it, why not construct it over the railway line that is already there. The same reasoning should apply to Arundel and Chichester.
Feeble local politicians
But this will cost a ton of money, I hear our feeble local politicians say. OK, so raise the money privately and make it a toll road. And while you’re about it, it’s about time the rail links in the area were upgraded too so that we could have an express service from Brighton, Worthing, Chichester, Portsmouth Southampton with plenty of double tracks to allow fast travel, and an end to those pesky level crossings. 45 minutes from Brighton to Southampton?
I won’t be going to my local meeting to discuss this. It really is an exercise in futility as politicians seek to gain our approval for this Mickey Mouse plan. I suppose the bottom line is we simply have to accept it, as we have for the past 50 years. Maybe we could organise citizens in the areas to stand in elections against the completely useless MPs that now reign over us? Maybe this letter might induce a wave of anger to set this in motion? Can we force politicians to act?