Worthing Borough Council Candidates Views on the A27 - 2019
We wrote to all Worthing Borough Council candidates standing for election in wards around the Worthing area which include or are very close to the A27. The letter was sent to candidates in the following wards:
Worthing Borough Council
There are no elections for Adur District Council in 2019, nor for Durrington and Northbrook wards in Worthing.
Your views about changes to the A27.
You may be aware that I chair a residents’ action group campaigning for a proper relief road around Worthing. We are a non-political organisation - our focus is on one issue. We would be interested to know what all Worthing Borough Council candidates’ views are on the A27 and how closely they align with the group’s views.
We plan to publish all of the candidates’ responses (in wards which are close to the A27) to this message on our website which you may wish to view at www.bypassnota27throughpass.org
To be fair to all candidates, all prospective candidates are being contacted in the same way and at the same time. Responses will be added to the website in the order in which they are received. This is a very unsubtle way of suggesting that the quicker you reply, the quicker your response will appear on the website. A holding message beside each candidate’s name from whom we have not yet received a response will also appear, for example:
Ward Name A
Candidate Name and Party 1 - Response listed below
Candidate Name and Party 2 – Awaiting response etc
The Bypass Not A27 Throughpass Residents’ Action Group’s objectives are:
To stop the dualling of the present A27 route through the middle of Worthing.
To achieve a Bypass for Worthing, Sompting and Lancing.
Question to Answer – What are your views?
It would be helpful and quicker if you can respond by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to your reply.
ByPass not A27 Throughpass residents’ action group
Candidates replies are listed below in the order in which they appear on the Adur and Worthing Councils' Website
Worthing Borough Council
APSEY John Christopher, Liberal Democrats
This is my personal view and is not official Liberal Democrat policy.
The A27 around Worthing and Lancing has been a problem for over 70 years with various proposals being made but none implemented.
I am well aware of the problems as most days I take two grandsons along the A27 to and from Bohunt School.
Highways England proposal to remove roundabouts and replace them with traffic lights and widen the road at various points strikes me as being a complete waste of £70 million for little or no benefit let alone the upheaval this will cause during construction so I am against this proposal.
However, the northern route also has many problems.
The Long Furlong is a most picturesque but dangerous road even with the improvements to the most dangerous corners. The Washington roundabout already has queuing traffic of over a mile at peak times in the morning and afternoon rush hours. The route is also several miles longer. Research carried out by Highways England reports that over 60% of the traffic is local and this is to some extent borne out by the reduction in congestion during the school holidays and so it is dubious whether much traffic would take this longer route.
A third possibility is to tunnel part of the route. This would have the advantage of bringing the road closer to the built-up area causing less damage to the National Park. It is likely to be used more, reducing the congestion on the existing road. However, this would be very expensive. If the government's view is to provide dual carriageways from Folkestone to Honiton then I think this possibility should at least be costed. The road could leave the existing A27 just before Cote Street, pass under West Hill, cross the A24 at the Findon/Worthing boundary with a suitable interchange. It could then pass under the ridge to the South of Cissbury Ring and under Lancing Ring to join the existing A27 again just North of the airport. There could also be a spur road just to the East of Downlands corner. I think this would have the least damaging effect on the South Downs National Park. Initially there was considerable opposition to the Brighton bypass but I think that most people agree that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
BATTSON Richard Denham, Green Party
MORGAN, Nigel James, Conservative and Unionist Party
Thank you for your letter asking about my views on the A27. Please see my response/views below. You have mentioned that this will heavily influence your vote on May 2nd and I can see why. It is probably the number #1 issue on your mind and one you constantly think about, when not talking about Brexit!
I have included a couple of basic diagrams to give reference on a couple of points which I hope prove useful.
I appreciate this is a Localised/Regional issue but it is linked to National Politics and I have taken the time to explain why “there is light at the end of the bypass and tunnel” if you vote Conservative.
Whilst you have asked about my ideas/views you should also remember that the Conservatives “Unanimously” stood against Highways England on a Borough Council Level and County Council Level along with your MPs Tim Loughton and Sir Peter Bottomley. We rejected their plans and told them that they must do better and sent them packing with a list of demands and some unforgiving feedback.
Voting Conservative will mean Highways England will have to get past an experienced and resolute local presence before anything goes through, so if it isn’t right for Worthing and its residents or isn’t good enough and we feel they could do better, it won’t happen! You have to make sure you don’t weaken our position, as blatantly cynical a reason as this is. There are plenty of other good reasons to vote for me but as this is related to the A27 I will stay on topic.
We secured £120m for the works through our section, admittedly the plans that Highways England submitted fell well short and it would have been a waste of £120m, but the thing to remember is that the money is there so it just becomes a case of using it in a good way and pushing for the extra amount needed to get the bypass which I and my colleagues feel is very achievable, assuming we make a good case.
My long term view is that we need a bypass and budget permitting, tunnelling for certain essential parts of the route. The reason for opting for a bypass is because duelling the A27 through Worthing creates as many problems as it potentially solves. It will be controversial and will meet fierce resistance as we saw with the Newbury Bypass years ago and more locally, Titnore Lane. I am all for preserving one of our natural assets and we should remember that the South Downs bring a number of benefits to the area, economically as well as positively contributing to our wellbeing. Anything that encroaches on the South Downs would have to be carefully considered and absolutely essential. There simply isn’t an alternative that I can think of and no one has ever suggested an alternative to me which solves the issue other than a bypass.
I mentioned that duelling and other suggested modifications would have an adverse effect on the area with Broadwater, Offington and Findon being affected most. One of the recommendations that I wouldn’t permit is banning right turns down Sompting Road – I raised this as one of my biggest concerns. Lorries and Business traffic need to get to the Industrial Estates and they currently do this by turning down Sompting Road and heading along Dominion Road, which are suitable and direct routes. If this was ever implemented traffic would turn down a number of other roads as they made their way to their destination. This shows how it would impact Broadwater and how disastrous a decision it would be. Being Local and having the detailed local knowledge of area means bad ideas will be identified and headed off. The resolve to stand up for the people and businesses of Broadwater means voting for me will ensure that you can be guaranteed that only things that benefit Broadwater will be accepted.
Rat Runs Diagram
A number of the Roads highlighted (Rat Runs Diagram) in red will become rat runs during any works, and the works will run for years! As well as facing gridlock on a daily basis the side roads will be used by many to seek an alternative route. I don’t need to go into too much detail on this because we all know that Broadwater is used as a rat run already. During the works, and unless we can steer people onto a bypass, it will just get worse. A bypass will take away the of volume of traffic from the A27 as we know it, this will then mean it will be then become the quickest route and will remove the temptation for using the side roads, reducing the number of people inclined to use them to cut down journey time. We all know that an issue on the A27 can change a 20 min journey into a 2 hour journey, or worse! I am sure everyone remembers that if there is a significant problem in rush hour it creates a car log jam that is so bad, it makes the area literally impassable. We need to consider the transitional period and not just the end result. We all have to live and work here for the 3+ years whilst any works are carried out. For me this also makes a further case for a bypass because it will the end of a number of businesses that cannot sustain 3 years+ of disruption.
The residents of Sompting Village, Bramber Road, Allington Road, Morland Road, Leighton Avenue, amongst others would also see a reduction in people trying to avoid the A27 which I know frustrates them.
We also need some short term solutions to alleviate some of the current issues whilst a permanent and long term solution is implemented. The long term and ideal solution is simple, we need a bypass ideally with some tunnelling. It is all well and good saying this, but will it happen and is it realistic? I honestly think it is and I will explain why. Sorry to mention the B word but the Chancellor has said that he has a large pot of money that he will release when we know the outcome of Brexit. Some of this is allocated to infrastructure and we have already lobbied for an increase to the £120m allocated to the project and we will make sure we secure the funds we need to make the right plans a reality. Austerity has been hard on many people but we are coming out the other side of this. Now that the books balance again, sustainable investment is returning.
The Grove Lodge Roundabout doesn’t work as it is. We all know that when the lights are off, traffic flows much better no matter what the statisticians tell us. At the same time we cannot just remove them because we cannot overlook the safety of the students for the college and anyone else wishing to cross. We also need to consider our other goals with emissions being one and we don’t want to deter anyone using it as a cycle route. A bridge has been suggested, but that will be a monstrosity in my opinion. I would like to see a couple of small underpasses which I have depicted in the diagram below. They could easily be accommodated and they could be implemented with minimal disruption to the traffic. We could simply change the lights so that they were only used on demand when someone needed to cross. This makes use of what is already there and is just a reconfiguration of the software. This is depicted in Grove Lodge Roundabout Diagram.
Grove Lodge Roundabout Diagram
Air Pollution has serious health implications because it is a silent killer. It therefore needs to be given serious consideration. The monitoring stations often exceed the permitted levels during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Outside those times they are normally inside the required levels. I don’t agree that the Labour proposal of asking 25-60 year olds to pay for bus passes for the 60+ and under 25s will work. These are not the main demographic using the A27. Its commercial vehicles and commuters. Worthing is a thoroughfare for people passing East to West and West to East from Littlehampton/Arundel and Lancing/Hove/Brighton. Would any of them need or use a bus pass?
This is where National politics comes into the mix again. We need to encourage people to drive cleaner cars and incentivise/create car pool schemes. We cannot realistically achieve this on our own at a local level so it has to be a joined up strategy with central government. We can make our feelings known and push for the changes, but we don’t have the money to pay for scrappage schemes or alike. The simple facts of the matter are that until there is a viable alternative to the A27, people will use it because they have to use it. Cutting down pollution is done by lowering emissions and reducing the number of journeys travelled and that is where our focus should also be, regardless of other initiatives.
Many people say that putting in vast numbers of electrical charging points will make the difference. For local commuters going to Brighton or Lancing the range of an electric car is enough but we don’t seem many on our roads. As technology improves, the viability of electrical cars becomes more appealing and the emissions will naturally fall. My view is that we should accommodate electrical points in all future plans but I don’t feel that putting them in will force the change the habits of people just yet. The car industry needs to make better and more affordable electrical cars.
Lyons Farm lights are not sequenced correctly and accompanied with the fact that it goes from two lanes down to one means that not enough cars can get through and a log jam forms. They are also dangerous as and there have been number accidents and serious accidents at that! It is quite difficult to explain in words but by encouraging cars to filter into a single column of traffic before they are forced to would mean better throughput. The short westbound section by Gainsborough Avenue would be better if the right lane was ahead only, and the left lane was left turns only. There is no need to turn right to Argos when you could have done that at the previous set of lights. Right hand turns to the entrance Argos invariably block traffic because the cars are not over far enough and it blocks up the traffic. If the Grove Lodge Roundabout was also more efficient then I think the flows would dramatically improve. It wouldn’t be completely solved, but it would dramatically improve. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, could be quickly implemented and could be rolled back or tweaked if it didn’t have the desired effect.
Getting the area in Blue to organise itself and filter in the area marked as red just isn’t going to happen. Better organisation before they reach the area in red is required.
I hope this response shows that I have insight into the problems and also a detailed understanding of Broadwater. The potential unseen issues I highlighted 4 or 5 roads back from any proposed works would ruin many people’s lives. I hope you know that I won’t allow anything that isn’t in the interests of the residents of Broadwater.
SMITH, Dawn, Labour Party
HUMPHREYS, Daniel, Conservative and Unionist Party
NORTON, Emma Kate, Liberal Democrats
ROSER, Jon, Labour Party
Thanks for your letter asking for my views on the campaign for a proper relief road around Worthing.
With the proposed new housing developments close to the A27 as well as the planned IKEA development at New Monks Farm, I believe that we need to address the issue of increasing traffic urgently and would therefore support your aims in exploring an alternative route for traffic around Worthing, Sompting and Lancing. If I am elected I will do what I can to raise the issue with Highways England and the government
STRANGE, John, UK Independence Party
ATKINS, Noel Anthony, Conservative Party
As a member of the ByPass Not A27 Throughpass Residents Action Group, I do not believe that dualling or adding junctions to the present A27 route through the middle of Worthing will bring any benefit, just maximum disruption to residents and road users.
In my election literature I have said "What Worthing and Lancing needs is a proper Bypass not a Throughpass" and I will continue to campaign for this.
JELLISS Michael John, UK Independence Party
The infrastructure for Worthing and Surrounds is not fit for purpose at present.
Once all the proposed housing is complete between the A259 and the A27 from Bognor to Shoreham. The Pollution and Traffic jams will be as bad as central London.
We need the A259 and A27 updating and improving and without doubt a Bypass as well.
LING, Melanie Emma, Green Party
I feel the current road is not fit for purpose, and the proposed changes won’t improve the road considerably. I feel the bypass option needs seriously looking at, but has a large impact on the downs, but perhaps tunnelling and a partial bypass may be the least damaging solution.
SUNDERLAND, Keith Derick Riley, Liberal Democrats
As the LibDem candidate for Salvington I would agree that dualling the carriageway would be waste of time and money not to mention the disruption caused to locals. I do not think that a bypass going through the South Downs National park is viable or desirable. In my view, having seen some of the evidence provided, I believe that we would be best to spend the money that Highways England have set aside on improving the junctions at the A24/A27 junction, Grove Lodge Roundabout and Lyon's Farm. The holdups are caused by the junctions and the last two have illegal levels of pollutants which is especially dangerous to car drivers, especially children.
Improving these junctions would make a massive difference to traffic flow and cut pollution.
In general I do not think that it is reasonable to ask people to stop using cars until there are viable alternatives.
TAYLOR, Emma, Labour Party