A ‘whole new road’ is needed as part of improvements to the A27, East Sussex MPs told the transport minister last week.
Chancellor George Osborne announced £75m for upgrades to the road east of Lewes earlier this year, and the MPs met with Andrew Jones to ensure the best way would be found for spending the money and to press for a large-scale ambitious project to address capacity and safety issues.
The meeting was organised by Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, chair of the A27 Reference Group, which is made up of local MPs, councillors, council officers and other interested parties.
Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, Amber Rudd, Hastings and Rye MP, Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell, Huw Merriman, Bexhill and Battle MP, and Wealden MP Nus Ghani also attended the Westminster meeting.
The group said: “The £75 million already announced for the A27 in East Sussex is, of course, fantastic news but we are very keen that this money be spent in the way that brings the greatest benefit to local residents, businesses and visitors to the area.
“We are fighting for funding for a whole new road and it is great to hear the minister be so supportive of our aims.”
Concerns were raised about very high levels of congestion on the road and its safety record, while smaller roads such as the A259 coast road are having to bear to some of the burden of a main trunk road that is ‘not fit for purpose’.
The MPs said they wanted the £75 million to be a down payment on a major solution, ideally a new or significantly widened A27, rather than see taxpayers’ money being spent on minor adjustments to junctions and smaller things such as tree planting, which will have no significant overall effect in alleviating congestion and supporting East Sussex’s economy.
Mr Jones agreed that the A27 would appear to be a prime candidate for additional investment as a major road in the region and the fact that it is still single carriageway.
He outlined a major new Government road investment scheme to be introduced early next year and recommended the group bid for some of this funding when nominations open.
He added that the fact that a new road appears to have cross party support and is favoured by all tiers of local government in the area, as well as having widespread support from residents and local businesses, increased the chances of a successful bid.
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