As the government announces £350m for the A27 corridor, from Chichester to Polegate, Arundel residents say the money for Arundel should be spent on improvements along or near the existing route and include better access to public transport, cycling and walking, rather than be wasted on an ineffective and unaffordable bypass, seriously damaging the Arun Valley landscape and National Park.
The proposed ‘offline’ options for an Arundel bypass would mean a dual carriageway crossing the Arun Valley from Crossbush, over water meadows and either cutting through the ancient woodland at Tortington Common, close to the western edge of Arundel, the village of Tortington and Havenwood Park, or through the historic landscape and villages of Binsted and Walberton.
‘This would be a gross waste of money.’ said Sue White, Arundel resident and business woman. ‘We want smart, 21st century thinking for transport, not lumbering, outdated roads that we know will simply generate more traffic, increase local congestion and destroy town centres and small businesses, just as similar roads have done elsewhere.’
Philip Gadsby, retired engineer and Arundel resident pointed out that local people have been excluded from the discussions about options for transport and access along the Sussex coast and many people had no idea about plans until SCATE brought them to their attention. ‘We are now told we will be consulted, but the Department for Transport appears to have already narrowed our options to a bypass. There has been no debate locally on this controversial issue in over 20 years and ideas about transport and related issues have changed.’
He added, ‘the DfT study appears to have been unreasonably rushed and, contrary to modern transport thinking, it has focused only on road-building rather than addressing transport in an integrated way.’
Kay Wagland, resident of Ford Road, Arundel and chair of the Arundel SCATE group , said ‘The offline proposals are hugely damaging and just won’t help in the long term. They would destroy the countryside and wildlife that local people love and that attracts visitors to the area, adding noise and light pollution too. There are other options that would provide more choices for commuters, young people and the elderly, that would be less wasteful and damaging. Recent DfT reports have shown that money spent on improving local access, walking and cycling are not only healthier, but better value for money.’
The residents’ group, Arundel SCATE, was set up this year in response to the Department for Transport Feasibility Study which started a year ago, to inform local people about the plans and to provide a forum for discussion.