IAN HART: Here we go again with the A27 saga

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

As a lifelong Worthingite, the problems with the A27 and proposed ‘improvements’ have persisted throughout my entire adult life, and even before.

From the great debate in the 1970s, with the compulsory purchases of a number of houses along the proposed route – and in some cases, twice – right up to the latest episode in the saga with a new document produced. Traffic is an issue not just in Sussex but nationwide.

If you just take my family 40 years ago today, my blood relatives had four cars – two Grandads, Dad and an older brother. Today, my immediate family as a group operates 11 private cars. Replicate that change in others families around the town and that’s half the problem.

The other half is that public transport has been neglected and is now a sub standard, pale shadow of its former self.

Back in 1977, how many taxis/private hire cars were on the road in the town?

People used buses and trains, because that’s what they did back then and there was, to a degree, public confidence in the service.

We need something to alleviate the traffic issues in this town and an upgraded A27 would go a long way to addressing the problem. But is it ever going to happen?

Then-MP Terence Higgins couldn’t get in it done in the early 1990s when, arguably, he was as close to the Prime Minister as any Worthing MP had been before or since.

Only one option is on the table. Various others have been suggested locally and have both their detractors and supporters. Then there’s the fact that one of the proposed routes involves the National Park, so that’s almost a non-starter.

Funding is the other major issue. The money ‘put aside’ for the project by central government does not allow for a solution to the problems we face on a daily basis between Lancing and Worthing. In these times of austerity and as we look to a post-Brexit UK, where would they find that additional funding from?

Whatever your route preference, it’s a mess. A long-term mess, but a mess all the same. And I’ll wager in ten or 20 years time, the Herald columnist of the day will write with exactly the same sentiments.

Unless, that is, something happens of the like we’ve never seen before when it comes to the A27, and common sense prevails.

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