A24 ‘super highway’ scheme hits dead end

MEMBERS of the A24 Alliance are celebrating the news that the Ashington to Southwater ‘superhighway’ road scheme is not being funded by the Government.

South Downs Conservative MP Nick Herbert received a letter from Norman Baker, Lib Dem MP for Lewes and under secretary for the Department of Transport, stating the multi-milllion pound scheme was not among those to receive funding.

“I am sorry to tell you that the A24 Ashington to Southwater scheme in the pre-qualification pool has not been selected for the development pool and will therefore not be funded in the spending review period,” the letter said.

“Although the promoters have proposed a reduced scheme with a significant overall cost saving, their funding request to DfT would not decrease by the same proportion and would be 91 per cent of the scheme cost, higher than any selected scheme.”

Mr Herbert said: “This news is, of course, disappointing for road users but the amount of money being asked of the Government was the most of all the shortlisted bids.

“I think we all recognise that in these difficult economic times, when the deficit must be reduced, tough decisions have to be taken.

“Regardless of the announcement, I know that West Sussex County Council will continue to do all that they can to keep our roads as safe and as well maintained as possible.”

For reaction from the A24 Alliance and West Sussex County Council, see the County Times of February 10.