The cat is well and truly out of the bag since Spirit FM, Chichester Observer and the Worthing Herald went ahead and published maps showing the 7 possible options for expanding the capacity of the A27 around Chichester. These can also be seen on the A27 Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee’s website and show that a northern bypass would indeed intrude on the South Downs National Park.
The publication of these maps at last allows the public to see for themselves, what Highways England is considering around Chichester. While Highways England has apparently branded the publication of these maps irresponsible, it has been showing various people and organisations these maps for quite some time. In that situation it can hardly claim they were secret or that the public shouldn’t see them.
People are perfectly capable of understanding that these are only indicative options and that the details may well change. However, to treat the public with such disdain is unacceptable and undermines democracy. At least with the maps out in the open, this will allow a full and frank debate of all the various options even before the start of the official six week consultation some time in the Spring.