In the first of a series of policy announcements in the lead up to the publication of their local manifesto for the elections being held on May 2nd, Chichester Labour Party have announced proposals to launch a consortium to lobby for the transformation of regional rail with the creation of a South Coast Metro network.

Phil Wilson, Chichester Labour’s spokesperson for Transport stated, “A consortium of interested parties, local authorities and business leaders would be the first step towards gaining central government support to transform regional rail and create the truly integrated public transport network that we desperately need in Chichester and along the South Coast.” Only last week, West Sussex County Council announced further cuts in bus subsidies which will result in the withdrawal of some vital services and routes.

The complete long-term failure of leadership in the development of our local economy with the infrastructure improvements required to attract businesses, growth and jobs has been illustrated by the inability of all levels of government to make key infrastructure decisions on the future of the A27.

Above, a video presenting the South Wales Metro showing what might be possible with the leadership and investment Chichester Labour is calling for.

Phil Wilson continued by saying, “With yet another delay to a decision on the future of the A27, the alleviation of traffic as well as the reduction in pollution by creating a vastly improved public transport network should be a key priority, especially with the proposed Local Plan which seeks to build an additional 10,000 homes in the District”

Labour policy regarding the introduction of Regional Development Banks with a substantial injection of public infrastructure investment are central components of the next Labour Government’s economic plans to kickstart the economy. Such investment potential could be ulitised to address the bottlenecks that are holding back our local economy and tackle persistent rural and coastal poverty that blight many communities.

A similar scheme to transform and upgrade public transport across South Wales is currently underway after the Welsh Labour Government successfully secured funding. Our local consortium, led by a Labour-run Chichester District Council, would conduct feasibility studies to explore the potential of upgrades to track and signalling; find alternatives to existing level-crossings and refurbish current stations as well as identify locations for new stations; consider the integration of local bus services to extend the network, beyond the confines of rail, using Bus Rapid Transit and explore options for park and ride.

Phil Wilson finished by saying, “Considering rail upgrades and improvements such as Thameslink and Crossrail, it is time that these benefits trickled down to us on the South Coast. But if we are going to benefit, we need a Labour council to fight for that investment and to fight for our corner of the world that has been so utterly failed by the Tories. Only Labour has the local and national vision to create the jobs and infrastructure required for the 21st Century”.

We need a Labour council to fight for investment, our corner of the world has been so utterly failed by the Tories. Only Labour has the local and national vision to create the jobs and infrastructure for the 21st Century Phil Wilson, Chichester Labour Transport Spokesperson
Phil Wilson, Chichester Labour Transport Spokesperson
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