Transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced plans to ask Sussex residents their opinions about building a replacement A27, during a meeting in Polegate today (Monday).
Mr Grayling said the Government would fund an offline survey into building the new road to the north of the railway line. He said the funds for the survery - up to £3m - would come from the £75m A27 improvement fund announced in October last year.
He announced the plans during a meeting in Polegate this afternoon between Eastbourne unLtd, Conservative candidate for Eastbourne Caroline Ansell and Conservative candidate for Lewes Maria Caulfield.
Speaking after the meeting Eastbourne unLtd Chief Executive Christina Ewbank said: “The Chamber held a far ranging discussion with Chris Grayling and Caroline Ansell about the A27, Southern Rail, the black top specification of UK roads and Gatwick Airport. We are pleased to announced that the Secretary of State for Transport has committed to ring fence £3m for a full offline study into a new A27 north of the railway line. We look forward to working with the study group to ensure the views of our business community and local residents are taken into account.”
Mrs Ansell said: “This announcement is absolutely great news and a massive step forward in the campaign to get a desperately needed A27 bypass between Lewes and Polegate.
“Along with Maria Caulfield, I have lobbied the Department for Transport ceaselessly to get this next step funded so this is a really positive day for Eastbourne and East Sussex.
“To have £3m spent on how this road is going to be built and its environmental impact, plus a business case and even options for a public consultation shows the Government is now serious about this project. It also shows the considerable influence Conservative Sussex MPs have in making sure residents get the infrastructure improvements that are desperately needed.
“It allows campaigners to have strong reference point for future bids for money; it means there will be concrete plans, it means a solution to the A27 is within grasp for the first time in decades and this is a major development.”
Ms Caulfield, who is Chair of the A27 Reference Group, said: “Residents have suffered long enough with the problems on the A27 and the failure over previous decades to ignore this issue. As chair of the A27 Reference Group I have achieved £75m worth of investment in the A27 which will lead to improved journey times and safer journeys.
“The Transport Secretary has today visited Lewes to announce that £3m of the £75m already secured will be used to fund the development of a scheme to turn the A27 between Lewes and Polegate into a dual carriageway.”
“This is a much needed change that will boost the economy of the whole South East and improve lives for all who use the A27.”