PLANS to expand the A27 into a motorway-style road are to go before ministers.

But the £450 million proposal to widen the dual carriage way between Lewes and Polegate have been branded a “scar across the countryside”.

Environmental campaigners have raised concerns that the proposal will destroy the countryside and create an eyesore visible from the South Downs National Park.

The Highways Agency announced their preferred option for the road last September, saying 26,000 motorists could benefit.

The plan includes improvements to four junctions along the road and the Polegate bypass upgraded to a dual carriageway and walking and cycling facilities along the whole stretch will be enhanced.

The plans were put to the public last year, with 78 per cent of respondents backing the need for improvements.But the preferred option will cost £50 million per mile.

South Downs Society District officer Victor Ient said: “It will be a scar across the countryside whether you’re standing on Mount Caburn near Lewes or whether you are on Firle Beacon on the South Downs.

“Spending an estimated £450 million at more than £50 million a mile is a huge amount of taxpayers’ money to allow people to drive a bit faster over the nine or ten mile stretch of road.

“The land between Lewes and Polegate is low lying across the Laughton levels, and therefore any motorway would have to be built on an embankment making it even more visible from the National Park in the countryside around.

“In addition to this and of more environment damage, it would increase the noise envelope by at least four or five times.

“We do not feel the proposed solution would solve the traffic jams which occur almost daily at Ashcombe near Kingston and Southerham at the junction with the A26.

“If the motorway proposal went ahead, would this actually help the economy and the people in Polegate and Eastbourne?

“I doubt it, it might just encourage people to leave their jobs locally and drive to Brighton or even further afield to the Gatwick area.

“The picture is much bigger than this.

“The proposal is not part of an integrated track transport plan.

“It doesn’t solve the traffic problems on the A26 as you come down into on the A26 to Lewes and go through the Cuilfail tunnel.

“That traffic congestion and pollution problems will increase with the proposed heavier and faster flow.

“We would support an integrated view of the transport system across Sussex where there is a serious attempt to reduce our carbon footprint.”