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West Sussex council backing A27 improvements
Council chiefs have promised £20 million towards improving the busiest road in Sussex.
To alleviate congestion for hundreds of thousands of vehicles that use the A27 each year, West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council have written to the Government pledging their support to improve six bottlenecks on the bypass.
Local authority bosses believe the Chichester scheme, estimated to cost between £71 million and £90 million, has the greatest chance of getting extra money from Whitehall.
However they have also promised to continue preparing plans for short-term improvements to the road in Arundel, Worthing and Lancing.
County council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “We recognise in tough economic times that reduced public spending limits everybody’s ability to invest in major infrastructure projects.
"However, if we can kick-start investment now it could be worth billions to the local economy in future years.”
It is believed the Chichester scheme would improve safety, help stimulate economic growth along the coast and create 3,000 jobs. Funding would come from borrowing and future developers’ contributions.
Council tax freeze
The local authority has agreed to freeze council tax for the third year in a row despite cutting more than £26 million from its budget.
This means the average band D taxpayer will pay £1,161.99 for services delivered by the local authority.
Finance bosses claimed there were “no more cuts” than the £79 million over three years announced in 2009.
Since then nearly 1,500 posts have been scrapped.
Road money rejected
Liberal Democrat councillor James Walsh said: “It is smoke and mirrors to say that the cuts made 18 months ago are not ongoing and breathing.”
Finance cabinet member Michael Brown said: “Households across the county continue to struggle to make ends meet and we as a council have a duty to help them if we possibly can.”
An amendment from the Liberal Democrat group to invest an additional £5 million towards treating the county’s roads was rejected by the ruling Tory administration.
£145 million will be spent on one-off schemes, such as providing 3,500 additional school places over the next two years and financing a virtual rebuild of the Millais School in Horsham.
Talking point: Where are improvements needed on the A27? What should the council prioritise? Share your views by commenting below or share your opinion with Argus readers by emailing the letters pages firstname.lastname@example.org
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