Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, has criticised his Labour counterpart for failing to back plans to put pressure on the Government to tackle notorious congestion blackspots on the A27 which are impeding further economic growth in the Greater Brighton area.
Cllr. Theobald and Group Spokesman, Cllr. Graham Cox, moved a Notice of Motion at Thursday’s Full Council meeting urging the Council to sign up to the newly formed A27 Action campaign which is supported by all local councils along the route as well as local MPs and over 70 businesses.
The Government is currently carrying out a feasibility study into various solutions to the major bottlenecks along the A27, such as Arundel, Worthing and Chichester, which, if tackled would encourage business investment in the Greater Brighton area. It would also create a more pleasant and safer environment in the South Downs National Park by reducing the necessity for motorists to rat run through places such as Storrington, Pulborough and Amberley in order to avoid the A27 bottlenecks.
Cllr. Theobald said: “Despite the obvious environmental benefits for the South Downs, I am not surprised that the Green Party opposed road investment – that is their default position. However, for the Labour Group to do so is just astonishing. The only reason they were able to give for voting against our motion was that ‘most of it (the A27) falls outside the area of Brighton & Hove’. How short-sighted and parochial can you get? Our future economic growth and prosperity depends upon modern and reliable transport links in the whole of the South East and if they can’t see that then they have serious problems!”
Cllr. Cox added: “It will be impossible for us to prosper if we continue to handicap ourselves with inadequate infrastructure such as we have along much of the A27. I am staggered by the Labour Group’s stance, particularly as it comes just a week after they voted against Ł14 million of Government investment to improve Valley Gardens.”