The A27 improvement scheme for Chichester has sensationally been scrapped.
In a letter cancelling the whole scheme, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling blamed his decision on ‘the withdrawal of support by local councils for the shortlisted options and significant local campaigns’.
The extraordinary news comes just days before Highways England was due to announce its preferred route option.
In his letter to Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan, dated February 28, Mr Grayling wrote: “We have discussed how best to take forward the A27 Chichester improvement scheme.
“Highways England has quite rightly been taking forward the scheme, as set out in the Road Investment Strategy, to upgrade four junctions along the existing route south of Chichester and undertook a consultation last summer.
“I have considered all the representations and understand that this is a controversial scheme.
“The support and funding contribution by the local authorities are both vital to its successful delivery.
“After the withdrawal of support by the local councils for the shortlisted options and significant local campaigns, I am cancelling the scheme.
Mr Grayling added that the ‘delivery of the Arundel A27 bypass should proceed as planned’
Responding to the news, Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie said the whole Chichester community now needs to come together to find a unified solution before persuading the Government to recommit funding.
Read Mr Tyrie’s reaction here
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