It’s time to get on with the Arundel bypass
Highways England has launched a further round of consultation, until 24 October, on routes for the Arundel bypass. We desperately need a bypass to unblock the bottleneck on the A27 at Arundel and relieve traffic which currently diverts through this historic town and the precious South Downs.
This means a proper ‘offline’ bypass. An ‘online’ dual carriageway severing the town (the ‘beige’ or ‘cyan’ routes) would be unacceptable to the local community and would result in far more traffic going through the Park. These routes must be rejected.
Commuters could save between an hour and an hour-and-a-half of journey time every week with a proper bypass. However, if there was a roundabout (the ‘beige’ route) there would still be delays. A single carriageway route through the town, as some suggest, would be even more unrealistic and isn’t being consulted on.
The ‘online’ routes would both cause a two thirds traffic increase through Arundel and the South Downs National Park, compared with an 85 per cent decrease with an ‘offline’ bypass.
These and the ‘amber’ routes would also mean nearly 2 kilometres of the route going through the National Park. By contrast, the ‘magenta’ route would mean less than three quarters of a kilometre of the new route passing through the South Downs National Park, so this is the best and most realistic option.
Although the ‘grey’ route misses the South Downs National Park altogether, it would be too close to Walberton and far exceed the available budget. I originally felt that the ‘crimson’ route would be best, but the so-called “replanted ancient woodland” which it goes through has been protected, so it is bound to be rejected.
I campaigned strongly for an Arundel bypass, winning the Government’s announcement of the scheme and funding of up to £250 million.
Highways England has been forced to re-run the route consultation after facing judicial review of the process, delaying the planned start date until 2022-23.
With more housing coming to the area, traffic will only get worse. Motorists have been stuck in queues, and villages like Storrington have suffered heavy traffic and pollution, for too long.
There should be no more delays - it’s time to get on with the Arundel bypass. So I urge readers to respond to the consultation which can be found on the Highways England website - and back the ‘magenta' route.