Arundel bypass routes
There’s not much time left to respond to Highways England’s consultation on the Arundel bypass which closes on Monday 16 October.
Obviously the bypass is an important issue for Arundel, but its significance extends much more widely. Most of the traffic which endures queues at the town every day isn’t local. It’s vital that these drivers make their views known.
Upgrading the A27 will also help to relieve traffic which currently ‘rat-runs’ through the South Downs, the National Park and its villages.
Highways England’s consultation document indicates that a bypass would reduce traffic on the A29, for instance, by as much as a third, depending on the chosen route.
It’s important to realise that only an offline bypass will deliver these benefits. Option 1, which would bring the bypass through Arundel, would massively increase traffic through the town, would not deliver the time savings or anything like the same relief to the downland villages, and would sever Arundel. It must be rejected.
I strongly recommend supporting a proper ‘offline’ bypass to the south of Arundel. I still favour the original ‘pink-blue’ route, now Option 3, which was agreed decades ago by everyone, including local conservation bodies. Some argue that a more southerly route, Option 5A, will be more feasible as it goes through less ‘replanted ancient woodland’ which is now strongly protected, even though this route passes closer to the village of Binsted. It seems that our laws give more protection to conifers than people - although neither offline route actually goes through any properties.
Whichever offline route is preferred, residents of villages such as Pulborough and Storrington have a considerable interest in securing an Arundel bypass and A27 improvements generally - and they need to make their views known in the consultation.
There will be gains to the local economy, too, as improved roads infrastructure encourages local investment. So business owners and residents of towns like Littlehampton and Bognor Regis should be responding to the consultation as well.
I believe there’s a large, mostly silent local majority that wants a bypass. It’s important that their view isn’t drowned out by vocal opponents. I respect all local views, many of which are sincerely held, but it’s also clear that national anti-roads campaigners are trying to stir up opposition to the bypass.
So I would strongly encourage local people to respond the consultation. The document and questionnaire can be found at http://roads.highways.gov.uk/projects/a27-arundel-improvement/, and the One Arundel campaign for an offline bypass has helpful briefings on its website, https://www.onearundel.co.uk.