Rush hour commuters in Worthing were met with a mass of campaigners calling for an A27 bypass around Worthing and Lancing this morning.
Around 60 protestors met at the Grove Lodge roundabout today (Thursday, March 8) to launch a renewed campaign spearheaded by the Bypass Not A27 Throughpass group, a group of residents opposed to dualling of the A27 along the current route.
Jack Delbridge, who chairs the Bypass Not A27 Throughpass residents’ action group, said: "We're really happy, there was a good turnout and lots of tooting and shouting of support from drivers going by."
The group are calling for a full relief road from Patching, along Long Furlong to Findon, north to Washington and joining a widened road past Steyning to the Shoreham flyover.
The campaigners have criticised the single £69million option Highways England put forward to improve the road in a consultation last year, which involved tweaks to six junctions between Worthing and Lancing.
Mr Delbridge said at the demonstration: “We are all here this morning because we believe Worthing deserves far better from Highways England. The proposals they put forward were totally inadequate.
“The only solution to the problems of the A27 is to go round Worthing rather than through.
“The pollution levels are dangerously high - I’m standing here outside Worthing College where students are passing through all the time and the danger to their health is quite serious. So we wish to press for a bypass.
“Chris Grayling, the minister for Transport, has stated he would make more money available for bypassing large towns on trunk routes.
“Worthing is a large town on a major trunk route but for some reason Worthing seems to be ignored.
“We think Worthing deserves far better and that’s what we are in the fight for. We intend to keep fighting until some action is taken.”
Around a hundred poster boards have been put up from Cote Street to Lyons Farm in a bid to catch the attention of motorists.
Campaigners lined the road waving signs funded by Arun Signs, Bacon and Company and Ian Hart Funeral Servicesat passing vehicles.
Offington ward councillor Dan Humphreys, leader of Worthing council, said: “I’m here supporting local residents in this campaign to ask Highways England basically to treat us better.
“They really haven’t treated us well over the last few months with their plans for so called improvements to the A27 here in Worthing.
“We need to hear more from them about why we can’t have the bypass that the people of Worthing want.
“We are standing here right outside Worthing College – 1,500 students go in there everyday, high pollution levels here, people are queuing up, struggling to get through.
“It’s high time Highways England really came back to us with something very constructive to show us how they are going to do a better job for Worthing. Worthing deserves better.”
Also in attendance at the demonstration was Worthing Borough Councillor Heather Mercer and West Sussex County Councillors Elizabeth Sparkes and George Barton
The Bypass Not A27 Throughpass group said Highways England estimated the cost of a northern relief road at between £500million and £600million.
They noted that was ‘only double’ the cost of the cash set aside for an Arundel bypass.
An announcement was expected in January but Highways England has yet to provide more news.
A spokesman from Highways England said the preferred route announcement is expected in late Spring, which will detail exactly what work will be done.
Visit the website www.bypassnota27throughpass.org for more information.
Sign their petition for a bypass here.