A CONSULTATION on plans to improve a major road has been condemned as a “sham”.

Highways England has given a deadline of September 12 for views on its £69 million proposal for the A27 through Worthing and Lancing, with just one option on the table.

However, the leaders of Adur and Worthing councils say Highways England should have given residents more options to look at and are calling for the consultation to be brought to a halt.

The proposal includes new bits of dual carriageway and wider junctions between Durrington Hill and the Lancing Manor roundabout.

In its consultation document the agency refers to more expensive and radical solutions such as underpasses and flyovers but dismisses them as too expensive.

Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin and leader of Worthing Borough Council Dan Humphreys have joined forces to demand better for local residents.

Cllr Parkin said: “Highways England say they want to consult with us but we say this is a sham.

“By not allowing the public to weigh up options and see full costings how are we to make any kind of decision?

“All I do know is the current scheme on the table is barely worth the disruption and certainly not worth spending £69 million on.”

Cllr Parkin had earlier described the scheme on the table as the equivalent of “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” and said the government, which is insisting on more house building in the south, should do more to help transport infrastructure.

Cllr Humphreys said: “The more I listened to officials explaining the scheme at the launch of the consultation the more angry I became.

“Highways England do not seem to be taking us seriously.

“Our questions were met with an ‘experts know best’ response while there was no explanation about why other options hadn’t been explored. The current consultation should be halted and a proper one, involving other options and explanations started afresh.

“The agency must have those plans and calculations so let’s see them.”

The councils are to officially submit a response by the deadline but both leaders said they did not want the summer to pass without a campaign to force a rethink.

The leaders insisted it was not for the councils to submit plans but for Highways England to give residents, businesses and politicians real choice and real consultation.