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Couple criticise A29 decision

A LIDSEY couple have criticised the decision to continue with ‘a road to nowhere’.

 

Mick and Carolyn Steer live on Lidsey Road in an historic cottage just to the south of the proposed A29 re-alignment scheme.

 

Calling it short-sighted and dangerous, they have joined protesters in neighbouring Shripney to fight for the new road to continue an extra half-mile to the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars roundabout with the A259.

 

The campaigners were backed at a meeting of West Sussex County Council’s environment, community and fire select committee where members called for the existing plans to be put on hold until the consultation ended on April 26.

 

But their decision has been over-ruled by the council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, Cllr Roger Elkins.

 

Mr Steer said: “His decision is disgusting. I can’t believe how a unanimous vote in favour of halting the scheme for the consultation to finish can be ignored.

 

“There are too many unanswered questions about this road for it to continue as it is.”

 

Mrs Steer said: “They had proper notice of these questions at the committee meeting and they were still unable to answer them.

 

“If Cllr Elkins thinks that is satisfactory, then it is certainly not satisfactory by anyone else’s standards.”

 

The couple have lived in Pond Cottage for 16 years. They were devastated to find out after this month’s exhibitions into the A29 proposals the southern end of its footpath and cycle path was set to go through the side of their property.

 

His complaints were answered with another map which showed the paths stopping at the most southerly of the intended road’s roundabouts just to the north of their cottage.

 

“The consultation was sold on the scheme being environmentally friendly and we have a cycle lane and path that finishes at a busy, dangerpus road. It is, therefore, a road/path/cycle lane to nowhere.

 

“It was devastating for us, seeing our property under the cycle path, when in fact it was just incorrect maps at the consultation,” said Mr Steer.

 

“How many other errors or misleading facts were on view? How are the public supposed to comment when the true facts are not publicised?”

 

Continuing the 4km new road to the A259 would have enabled the cycle and footpaths to link up by missing out Lidsey and Shripney, he said.

 

A county council spokesperson said: “Indicative alignment illustrations do not show detail and we are always happy to provide detailed maps to allay any concerns.

 

“We would urge anyone who has not yet given their opinion on the A29 realignment proposals to please see: westsussex.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/roadworks-and-projects/roadprojects/A29 realignment proposals

 

“The deadline for responses is April 26, so there’s still plenty of time for people to have their say.”

 

Announcing his decision to allow the project to continue, Cllr Elkins said the new road would provide improved infrastructure to support the economy in the county and help to ensure new homes were built.

 

“It is clear to me from the information given by officers that withdrawing the decision would result in delays to the delivery programme,” he said.

 

“This is a major infrastructure project with multiple funding partners and dependencies, so delaying the delivery programme would incur potential legal, financial and reputational risks.

 

“Although I acknowledge the level of local concern that exists about the scheme that was reflected in the committee debate and recommendations, I also note that the committee supports, in principle, the need for the scheme.

 

“Therefore, I consider that the decision should not be withdrawn as to do so would delay the delivery programme and could jeopardise delivery of the scheme.

 

“However, in response to the committee’s recommendations, I can confirm that comments received during the consultation will be taken into account before the scheme design is finalised.

 

“I will also ensure that procurement of a design and build contractor should only take place provided that no substantive changes are required to the scheme.”

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