A27 improvements at Chichester rejected

A27 protest
Image caption Campaigners for and against improvements to the A27 demonstrated before the meeting

All five options to improve a bottleneck on the A27 in West Sussex have been rejected by councillors.

The £100m scheme, with options for better slip roads and signalling south of the city, has divided Chichester,

Some campaigners want a bypass to the north while environmental groups are calling for more sustainable solutions to traffic congestion.

Scores of protesters demonstrated outside West Sussex County Hall before the scrutiny committee meeting.

'Long overdue'

Divisions were clear between those against road expansion and those wanting a bypass, which is not among the options currently put forward by Highways England.

"We need to work out how to move people not limit ourselves to just working out how to move cars," Chichester Green Party councillor Sarah Sharp said.

She said park and ride schemes, bus lanes, improved public transport and better cycling and walking provision should be considered.

In the meeting, Conservative councillor Andrew Barrett-Miles said the options were selected "behind closed doors", but Independent Graham Jones said improvements to the A27 were long overdue.

Council leader Louise Goldsmith said she was sad the debate was so polarised.

Image caption Highways England is putting forward a £100m scheme for improvements to the A27

The committee was formulating the county council's response to a Highways England consultation which runs until 22 September.

It refused to recommend any of the options but called for the northern bypass route to be re-examined.

Highways England says the A27 Chichester improvement scheme is essential to improve traffic, safety and economic growth in the region.

It is part of a £2.2bn programme of road improvements announced by the government last year.

Consultations on two further schemes at Arundel and Worthing will be held in 2017.

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