An Arundel Bypass support group and the town’s MP have backed one of six routes for the public to choose from.
Last Friday, August 30, Highways England revealed six options for the A27 redesign at the launch of the public consultation.
Of the colour-coded routes, Cyan and Beige follow the path of the existing A27 through Arundel, and the four others diverge to the south at the Crossbush junction.
Three of these – Crimson, Magenta and Amber – cut through woodland to varying degrees and Grey bypasses the South Downs National Park.
On Tuesday, the OneArundel residents’ group backed the Magenta route.
Spokesman Nick Field said: “Whilst slightly over budget and having a minor impact on a small area of both the South Downs National Park and some ancient woodland, this is clearly the best option available, offering a solution that ensures the free flow of traffic whilst having the least negative impact on the surrounding environment and population.”
The group discounted the Grey route for its impact to nearby Walberton and due to it being the most expensive route, Crimson and Amber for ‘having major adverse impacts’ to the national park, woodland and environment, and the two ‘online’ routes.
Mr Field said: “In the words of one Arundel resident, ‘it would be like the Berlin Wall dividing the town in two’”.
Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs, also backed the ‘Magenta’ route. See page 28 for his views. Meanwhile, the Green Party joined environmental groups in calling for all the current routes to be scrapped.
Arun District Councillor for Arundel Faye Catterson said: “I cannot believe Highways England has chosen to make the two short options through Arundel [Cyan and Beige] 70mph dual-carriageway roads. Especially as these are the only two that are within the proposed budget. This is bad news for Arundel, and all the other routes are bad news for the communities south of the woodland.”
Isabel Thurston, district councillor for Barnham, added: “If any of these roads get built, those responsible should be ashamed of the legacy they will be leaving for the coming generations. They will have chosen to destroy the only ancient woodland left to the south of the current A27, with a huge impact on precious wildlife.”
Instead, the party supported a ‘locally proposed short 40mph bypass route’ rejected by Highways England due to forecasts predicting it would be at capacity by 2040. However, the party argued that by then, ‘any responsible government will have revolutionised public transport as the only way to get people around and meet climate emissions targets’.
The bypass has been in limbo for decades due to a lack of public consensus. Highways England went back to the drawing board last year after it was taken to the High Court, which is why it came back with these new options.
To aid the consultation, the Coastal West Sussex Partnership of business leaders launched a survey to find out businsses’ opinions of the A27 and its impact.
Director Caroline Wood said: “Everyone in the area has experienced congestion of the A27, it’s affecting visitors, residents and local business, and therefore the local economy.”
The consultation is until October 24, visit highwaysengland.co.uk/a27arundel to have your say.