The Coastal West Sussex Economic Partnership brings together leaders from business, education and the public sector to work collectively on economic issues that affect the coastal strip.
Geographically it covers the areas of Chichester, Adur, Arun and Worthing. Both the CWS Partnership (and its Executive Board) aim to add value and focus on the key ‘”larger than local’” issues that impact on our coastal economy whilst supporting business development and promoting sustainable economic growth across the area.
The A27 is the main arterial route along the West Sussex coast and as such, it is the most important transport connection between Portsmouth and Brighton so it is imperative that the A27 works effectively for the benefit of both the local, regional and national economy.
In considering the options being proposed for the A27 at Arundel, we were delighted to see that 2 options are promoted that offer dualling solutions, both of which would be supported by the CWS Partnership. However, in looking at the detail, Option 5A would appear to be the favourable option because it offers:
- A better Benefit to Cost ratio with less significant implications for the various National Policy Statements therefore making delivery of the scheme far more achievable.
- The route has the best average peak hour journey time savings in both directions
- The impact of the route on the Ancient Woodland to the north of Binsted village is limited to 6 hectares compared to 24 hectares at Tortington Common for Option 3. 4.
- Option 5A reduces the impact of rat-runs through the South Downs National Park by 36% (4399 vehicles per day) compared to 23% under Option 3 (3,300 vehicles per day).
However, the CWS Partnership would also like to encourage Highways England to consider any potential modifications that would:
- Further reduce the impact on local residents particularly around Binstead
- Consider a full junction option for Ford Road because of the increasing levels of commercial and residential traffic
- Create appropriate cycle routes that promote commuter opportunities but that also support more leisure cycling and open routes along the River Arun to connect the coastline to Arundel.
The dualling options being proposed for the A27 at Arundel are very welcome but we also recognise that there are other obvious bottle necks along the A27 in West Sussex.
The CWS Partnership would like to encourage Highways England to take a more holistic and joined up approach to deliver improvements along the whole stretch of the A27 in West Sussex as this would have a much greater and more positive impact on the economy and yield greater economic return in the longer term.
Any infrastructure investment into this area needs to deliver:
- Improved journey times – East to West along the whole stretch of the A27 from Brighton to Portsmouth
- Improved journey time reliability and resilience against unplanned incidents
- Removal of choke points and stop/start traffic with the consequent high levels of roadside pollution
- Improve the attractiveness of the area as a place to do business by improving connectivity to/from the West Sussex coast
- Better access for visitors to both the coast and the South Downs National Park
- A broader recruitment pool for businesses located in the area by improving connectivity to/from urban areas
- Improvement in the journey times and access for businesses and residents to the north and south of the A27
- Complement improvements to other transport investment that is already being made; eg A284 Lyminster bypass and the A259 corridor improvements at Littlehampton, because unlike other areas there are few acceptable alternative routes for users to use at times of congestion on the A27.
Improving the competitiveness of the West Sussex coastal economy to bring it into line with the regional average has the potential to bring significant economic benefits to the national economy.
We look forward to hearing the announcement of the preferred route later in the year.