Campaigners demand major improvements to A27 near Lewes

A 27 between Lewes and Polegate
Image caption Campaigners say traffic congestion on the A27 is stifling business

Businesses and politicians want to revive a campaign to improve the A27 near Lewes to save lives and commerce.

Eastbourne councillor Patrick Warner has launched an online petition, urging the government to turn a 12-mile stretch into dual-carriageway.

He says Eastbourne and Polegate are isolated by the poor road links, restricting their potential for growth.

Lewes MP and Transport Minister Norman Baker said it would be too expensive and damage the environment.

Plans to widen the key route, which runs parallel with the south coast as far as Southampton, were dropped after a change of government in 1997.

Image caption Customers will go elsewhere, says taxi driver Doug Thorogood

Delay 'costs lives'

Mr Warner wants them reinstated to ensure business and tourism in south-east Sussex can grow.

He said: "We've had a huge delay, and that's continued to cost lives, cause congestion, stifle business growth."

Taxi driver Doug Thorogood, a member of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "If small businesses can't get their delivery on time, then their customers are likely to go to somebody else and buy from them."

The Department for Transport has not ruled out the prospect in the future, saying it recognised the economic importance of the A27 and would "take into account local views when considering possible future proposals".

Mr Baker said: "The cost would be absolutely enormous, way in excess, probably, of £200m. And secondly, it would go through very special countryside."

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