Give us a bypassPeter Bottomley and I led a high level delegation from Adur, Arun and Worthing to lobby Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, about the long overdue Worthing bypass. We were joined by Arundel South Downs MP, Nick Herbert, and the following local representatives with a focus on business and the effect that the worsening congestion was having on business investment in our towns.
The delegation made the business case for why improvements to the A27 around Worthing/Lancing/Shoreham are long overdue and that they are now having a material effect on business investment, as well as quality of life for local residents. None of these factors were new, but the situation has continued to deteriorate and the Secretary of State was urged to put an A27 refurbishment back on the drawing board. He agreed to ask Highways Agency officials to re-assess the scheme for a cost benefit analysis, which would be greatly enhanced by business investment transforming the value of any improvements.
The Secretary of State was also reminded that local businesses are constrained by the 180 degree aspect of the local landscape with transport links constrained by the sea to the south, and Downs to the north. In addition, 5 wards in Worthing feature in national multiple poverty indices, yet similar deprived areas in the north of the country had received much more significant infrastructure spending in the past.
The delegation left the Commons in an upbeat mood having received a very sympathetic hearing from the Secretary of State who suggested that a future scheme could be included in the next spending round, following improvements to the Chichester stretch of the A27 due after 2015.