Letter: New A24 road is an aspiration

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THE SELF-styled A24 Alliance is reported (County Times January 5) to welcome West Sussex County Council’s announcement that plans to improve the A24 between Horsham and Capel have been withdrawn.

This decision may be welcome by some but there will be many thousands more who regret this decision, forced upon the highway authority by prevailing financial restrictions.

To those who live in the villages and hamlets along its route and the 20,000 daily users a new, safe road remote from residential areas has been an aspiration ever since improvements were first planned over 70 years ago.

The United Kingdom is ranked 28th by the World Economic Forum for the quality of its infrastructure. Our legacy of ancient highways now in use as the backbone of our arterial road network is a major contributor to this unenviable position.

In 2004 WSCC published its preferred alignment for a new road. Warnham Parish Council and The Warnham Society jointly planned an alternative alignment mainly alongside the Horsham/Dorking railway, away from housing and with minimal environmental intrusion; a previous WSCC-published scheme followed a similar route.

I am not alone in welcoming the time when these plans can be dusted down, the new road built and our rural lanes revert to use by local traffic.

Proposals announced in the same edition of the County Times to develop north of Horsham with 4,500 homes, business park, supermarket, park and ride railway station and hospital will need to include the required infrastructure improvements - including the A24 between Horsham and Capel.

ROGER PURCELL

School Hill, Warnham