The transport secretary has announced this week £3 million of funding is to be used to study a case for a dual carriageway on the A27 between Lewes and Polegate.

The A27 funding would come from £75 million already allocated for road improvement.

Chris Grayling’s announcement has had a mixed response from parliamentary candidates standing in Lewes and Eastbourne.

Maria Caulfield, who is seeking re-election in Lewes for the Conservatives, has welcomed the news.

She said:

“Residents have suffered long enough with the problems on the A27 and the failure over previous decades to ignore this issue.

“As chair of the A27 Reference Group I have achieved £75 million worth of investment in the A27 which will lead to improved journey times and safer journeys.

“This is a much needed change that will boost the economy of the whole South East and improve lives for all who use the A27.”

But Liberal Democrat candidate Kelly-Marie Blundell has described it as ‘blatant electioneering’ and is opposed to the development.

She said:

“The money was secured by Norman Baker and the proposed improvements still haven’t been made.

“A further survey will delay any improvements and continue to allow disruption on the A27.

“The impact of dualling the carriageway is not wanted by our towns and villages due to the huge impact it will have environmentally and on the South Downs.”

Daniel Chapman, who is standing for Labour, also has concerns.

He said:

“Although I, of course, support any funding for the area to develop important infrastructure and to support the needs of those who frequently use the A27, I do find this announcement a little cynical coming so close to the election.”

In Eastbourne, Green Party candidate Alex Hough is more concerned about the ongoing dispute with Southern Rail.

She said:

“Nice one, Mr Grayling, just in time for the election.

“Perhaps while you are here you could actually do something about Southern Rail, which is more of a concern to Eastbourne residents and businesses than spending our tax money to see if a dual carriageway can be laid over our national park.”

Labour candidate Jake Lambert thinks there should be more focus on the railways.

He said:

“This is a drop in the ocean for a cheap headline.

“We need a serious proposal that works for local business and our environment.

“The transport secretary should get off the campaign trail and get on with his job dealing with the chaos on our railways.”

But Caroline Ansell, who is also seeking re-election for the Conservatives, has supported the announcement, and said it shows the Government is serious about the project.

She said:

“This announcement is absolutely great news and a massive step forward in the campaign to get a desperately needed A27 bypass between Lewes and Polegate.

“It allows campaigners to have a strong reference point for future bids for money.

“It means there will be concrete plans, it means a solution to the A27 is in grasp for the first time in decades and this is a major development.”

Stephen Lloyd, the Liberal Democrat candidate, thinks the proposal for the dual carriageway should be extended to include Eastbourne.

He said:

“Such blatant and cynical electioneering by the Tories proves only one thing; that they are frightened they’re about to lose the seat on June 8, and I think they’re right!

“The £3 million he talked about has already been promised, brings us no closer to what we all know our town desperately needs, and that’s a dual carriageway between Eastbourne and Lewes.”

The Parliamentary candidates for the Lewes constituency are:

Kelly-Marie Blundell – Liberal Democrats

Maria Caulfield – Conservatives

Daniel Chapman – Labour

The Parliamentary candidates for the Eastbourne constituency are:

Caroline Ansell – Conservative

Alex Hough – Green Party

Jake Lambert – Labour

Stephen Lloyd – Liberal Democrats