There has been much correspondence about alternatives to the three Arundel bypass choices offered by Highways England.
Some people refer to ‘better not bigger’ and others to an ‘online solution’, but most pull these ideas together under the name of ‘new purple route’.
There is no new purple. It is not in any ministry documents. No agency has ever drawn it. No department has ever offered to fund it.
It is like Narnia – everyone has heard of it, but it doesn’t actually exist.
What does exist is a fund of money which could solve a major blockage to east-west travel across the whole of Sussex. Highways England has used its technical knowledge to come up with three ways to spend that fund. I think people should concentrate on which of those three is best for Sussex, not waste time peering through the back of a wardrobe, hoping for something that doesn’t exist.
Of the three choices, very few people would favour Option 1. This option would create four lanes of traffic and two river bridges. Everything would meet at a roundabout with traffic lights creating a new, huge blockage right in the centre of Arundel.
Option 3 was originally called the pink/blue route and was the one favoured by most people for many years.
However, a few years ago a campaign group successfully lobbied for the boundary of the South Downs National Park to be redrawn to a point south of the A27 , so land through which the pink/blue route could have run is now restricted by National Park legislation. The implication of that campaign is that Highways England has had to find a new route to avoid that land.
This new route is known as Option 5A. It goes close to Binstead but doesn’t actually affect a single brick. There is a very vocal and well-funded campaign group, many of whom are the same people whose previous lobbying now makes Option 3 difficult. They are very angry, as I would be if I had shot myself in the foot.
So choosing Option 5A is not a wild leap. It is a logical outcome of considering the available options.