The proposed improvement scheme for the A27 has been a contentious subject amongst constituents. Gillian has met with constituents and businesses through the Community Workshop Programme organised by West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council. Gillian has also had meetings and conversations with the local authorities on over 30 occasions, to fully understand the different perspectives and keep the process moving forward.
The Build a Better A27 group put forward two options to Highways England, a mitigated northern option and a mitigated southern option, in a report produced by Systra. Both local councils supported the proposed options before they were sent to Highways England who carried out an affordability and viability study. Both of the proposed options were rejected by the highways authority. Gillian responded to this news by saying:
I am very disappointed that Highways England were unable to support either of the proposals put forward by the BaBA27 group and Systra. It is clear any scheme will need the approval of the councils and Highways England before we are able to secure funding, so I have requested a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to discuss the next steps for the Chichester A27 upgrade. Highways England, as the national road building authority, have offered to come and present their findings to the community and I hope they will attend and further explain their position at the next meeting.
Discussions with Highways England and the Department for Transport are ongoing. Gillian has met and corresponded with officials often since being elected and has continually made the case for funding in Chichester. She has said that she will ‘continue our conversations to push for progress.
Recently Gillian met with the new Secretary of State, Grant Shapps, to ask for an all options consultation, that includes both a northern and southern option to ensure the people of Chichester have a transparent process and have their voices listened to. She has arranged a further meeting with the Roads Minister to continue her discussions.