MP urges local people to respond to Arundel bypass consultation
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has urged local people to respond to Highways England’s consultation on the Arundel bypass which closes on Monday 16 October.
The bypass is an important issue for Arundel, but its significance extends much more widely. The MP points out that most of the traffic which endures queues at the town every day isn’t local, and says “it’s vital that these drivers make their views known.”
Mr Herbert argues that an upgraded 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.
Mr Herbert said: “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.”
The MP is making a strong recommendation in support of a proper ‘offline’ bypass to the south of Arundel. He favours the original ‘pink-blue’ route, now Option 3, which he notes “was agreed decades ago by everyone, including local conservation bodies.”
On the second offline route, Option 5A, the MP recognises that “some argue that a more southerly route 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.”
Mr Herbert said: “It seems that our laws give more protection to conifers than people - although neither offline route actually goes through any properties.”
The MP says that, 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 should make their views known in the consultation.
Nick Herbert added: “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.