Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
The proposed A29 Realignment Scheme will deliver a ~4km bypass to the east of Eastergate, Westergate and Woodgate villages. The new road alignment will provide the highway infrastructure needed to mitigate the impacts of planned strategic development of 30ha of employment land and 3,720 new homes in the area. Along with alleviating problems of traffic congestion along the existing A29, notably at the Woodgate level crossing which causes delays on a key access route to Bognor Regis.
To date, West Sussex County Council has commissioned the consultants WSP to carry out a Route Option Review of the A29 Realignment Scheme, develop the preliminary design and Full Business Case (FBC). The previously submitted Strategic Outline Business Case to the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) allocated in principle £13m of Local Growth fund to the scheme, subject to submission and approval of a FBC.
The Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure has:
(1) Approved the identified route for the A29 Realignment set out in sections 3.4 and 3.6 of the report;
(2) Approved the A29 Realignment Business Case (exempt appendix to the report) for submission to Coast to Capital LEP for its approval;
(3) Delegated authority to the Director for Highways and Transport, in consultation with the Director for Finance, Performance and Procurement, to enter into a Funding Agreement with Coast to Capital LEP for the whole scheme once approved;
(4) Agreed to commence public consultation on the proposed scheme for the A29 Realignment described in section 3 of the report in Feb/March 2019;
(5) Authorised, subject to business case approval, the commencement of a process to procure and award a ‘design and build’ contractor for Phase 1 of the A29 Realignment scheme from the approved list of contractors on the Highways and Transportation Framework;
(6) Delegated authority to the Director for Highways and Transport to award the design and build contract following the outcome of the procurement process; and
(7) Delegated authority to the Director for Highways and Transport to submit a planning application for Phase 1 of the scheme.
(Due to consultation requirements and the need to ensure as much advance notice of the proposals and the scheme timetable as possible, there has been publicity for this decision. This has been undertaken subject to the call-in process and will not prejudice any request for call-in.)
Following the Call In by Environment, Community & Fire Select Committee the Cabinet Member confirmed the following:
Thank you for making recommendations on the A29 Realignment Scheme (HI20 18/19) which were that the Committee:
•Supports, in principle, the need for the A29 Realignment Scheme.
•Calls on the Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure to withdraw this decision and reconsider it in light of the concerns expressed by members today, and that any further decision which commits the County Council to any course of action relating to this is not published until after the current public consultation takes place, in which all contributions are given close consideration.
•Agrees for the BPG to look into the current process surrounding the initial costing of major projects.
The scheme will help to deliver the West Sussex Transport Plan and the recently adopted Arun Local Plan which has established the principle of strategic development in the area and the A29 Realignment as part of the supporting infrastructure package. By providing improved infrastructure to support the economy, I consider that the scheme will also help to deliver the West Sussex Plan which is our commitment to our residents. Therefore, it is now up to the County Council to deliver the A29 Realignment to support the delivery of development and meet the needs of current and future residents.
It is clear to me from the information given by officers that withdrawing the decision would result in delays to the delivery programme. This is a major infrastructure project with multiple funding partners and dependencies, so delaying the delivery programme would incur potential legal, financial and reputational risks. Although I acknowledge the level of local concern that exists about the scheme that was reflected in the Committee debate and recommendations, I also note that the Committee supports, in principle, the need for the scheme. Therefore, I consider that the decision should not be withdrawn as to do so would delay the delivery programme and could jeopardise delivery of the scheme.
However, in response to the Committee’s recommendations, I can confirm that comments received during the consultation will be taken into account before the scheme design is finalised. I will also ensure that procurement of a design and build contractor should only take place provided that no substantive changes are required to the scheme. I hope that these assurances will demonstrate to the Committee that the feedback received during the public consultation will be given due consideration as the scheme develops.
Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure
Mr Elkins has a personal interest as a member of Arun District Council.
Publication date: 18/02/2019
Date of decision: 22/03/2019