Authority withdraws legal challenge following decision to re-run public consultation

A legal challenge to the process of selecting improvements to the A27 at Arundel has been withdrawn by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA).

Back in May the SDNPA agreed to commence proceedings for a judicial review to challenge Highways England’s decision to select a modified version of option 5a as the preferred route for the A27 Arundel scheme.

The authority argued Highways England had not followed the correct procedure in its consultation, which has to set out to the same level of detail for all of the options inside and outside the national park.

But last month the agency announced it will be holding a new public consultation in the spring as ‘important new information’ about each of the options had become available.

The South Downs says it has been informed by Highways England it will publish information on all route options for proposals for a bypass and this will include its analysis of all five route options inside and outside the national park.

Since the consultation will give the public and stakeholders the opportunity to comment on any detrimental effects for all the routes, it has decided to withdraw its legal challenge.

Margaret Paren, chair of the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “We are pleased that Highways England has now agreed to re-consult on options for the A27 bypass at Arundel.

“People should have the right to make informed comment based on all the information available and taking into account the national park, including new evidence that Highways England will be tabling in the spring.

“Since this answers the reasons why the national park authority was pursuing a judicial review, this will now be withdrawn and I am pleased that Highways England are paying all of SDNPA’s legal fees incurred in bringing this challenge.”

A second legal challenge brought by Dr Emma Tristram, author of Binsted and Beyond, against HE’s preferred option decision has been granted permission to proceed by the High Court.

What’s your view? What procedure should organisations follow as part of their public consultation exercises? Is there a risk of ‘over consultation’ making it difficult for the public to distinguish between important and less important consultations? Share your views by emailing The Consultation Movement at: theconsultationmovement@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Wednesday 07 November 2018 in the Chichester Observer. The Consultation Movement cannot confirm the accuracy of this story or confirm that it presents a balanced view. If you feel this is inaccurate we would welcome your perspective and evidence that this is the case.

 

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