I've just been to a Parish Council meeting addressed by Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, telling local residents not to panic about a new dual carriageway between Lewes and Polegate. She told them there was plenty of time to get involved in arguing the pros and cons, and that no routes had been suggested in the A27 Reference Group's bid for £450m in the Government's next round of funding, known as RIS2. And the Reference Group hadn't looked at maps. And anyway, it would be 15 years before there was a spade in the ground
She told me we didn't need all that FOI stuff; that if we just email her she'd be as transparent as possible. She couldn't release the case that had been made to the Department of Transport, because it was "competitive" and "business-sensitive", but would release it once all bids were in, because that wouldn't put her case at a disadvantage to others.
So I'll give it a go. Here's my email.
Thank you for coming to our Parish Council meeting. If you can't share the detailed business case you've made for RIS2 funding yet, then please release the headings for each section of the document, and the number of pages in each section, and the headings and number of pages in the appendices. Then perhaps we can get a sense of the areas covered by the bid, and their scale, even if the detail is too sensitive for mere voters to read.
I happen to believe that the Department of Transport is taking, quite properly, an evidence-based approach to the assessment of which projects to fund in RIS2, and that the Reference Group/Highways England have together spent £3m making the case for a dual carriageway which doesn't follow the route of the existing A27. I'd be delighted if you'd prove me wrong.