Author Archives: Arundel SCATE

Arundel residents want ‘smart’ spending of government funds for A27

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 ‘We want smart, 21st century thinking for transport, not lumbering, outdated roads that we know will simply generate more traffic, increase local congestion and destroy town centres and small businesses, just as similar roads have done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.


Write, write, write before 3 December 2014

Please write to the email addresses below objecting to the A27 study outcomes and process. The Autumn Statement is on  the 3 December 2014 and after that date, it could be too late.

Bullets points to make in letter-writing:

Money to burn – Will waste public money (road building is very expensive and often offers poor value for money)

Hidden costs – Will cost far more than it costs to build (it will increase air and noise pollution, increase carbon emissions, loss of countryside and tranquillity and contribute to more costs for the NHS and society in general) (today’s news that obesity is costing UK economy £47 billion)

Trashing the South Downs – Together, the road schemes will cause massive damage to the South Downs National Park and create pressure for even more to follow (harming this important part of the local economy)

Driving up congestion – Time savings on the A27 will be offset by increasing congestion and delays in our towns and cities (as more people are encouraged to drive)

Local democracy bypassed – There has been no proper public debate about all the options (and based on sound evidence)

Better solutions – Investing in public transport, walking and cycling instead would deliver better value for money (would reduce pressure on the A27, cause little or no harm to the National Park, be healthier, be quicker to implement in many instances and potentially cheaper – the coastal railway is being starved of investment yet runs parallel to the A27, while the coastal plain from Brighton to Hampshire is ideal terrain for Dutch / Danish levels of cycling)

George Osborne MP:For those writing to George Osborne as chancellor this is the correct Or by post etc: The Correspondence & Enquiry Unit, HM Treasury, 1 Horseguards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ or telephone 020 7270 5000

and copy your letter to
John Hayes MP (Roads Minister):
Eike Ndiweni-Muller is DFT’s study lead for A27:
Your local MP:
Arundel (Arundel and South Downs) –
Worthing (West Worthing) –
Worthing (East Worthing and Shoreham) –

Local transport is healthy and cost effective

A new University of the West of England study for Department for Transport was recently published which showed how investment in walking and cycling, offers better economic returns than road building.  The executive summary says: ‘Investment in infrastructure or behaviour change programmes which enable increased activity levels amongst local communities through cycling and walking is likely to provide low cost, high-value options providing benefits for our individual health. This improvement also has major benefits for the NHS in terms of cost savings, for the transport system as a whole, and for the economy through more efficient use of our transport networks.’

Arundel MP appears ‘unaware’ over bypass say residents

Arundel residents who organised a public meeting in their local church, on A27 Bypass proposals, are surprised at continuing reports of their MP’s anger at them exercising democracy. They feel that Nick Herbert MP appears to be misinformed and unaware about local people and bypass issues.

Residents’ group, Arundel SCATE, was accused by their MP of organising a ‘deliberate’ and ‘one-sided’ meeting and failing to invite him.

Group founder, Rita Godfrey said, “Nick Herbert and the A27 Action group have been putting one side of the A27 issue for months without opening up debate to anyone else to challenge – and all using public money. West Sussex has a paper, ‘Connections’, delivered to all homes in the county, with a front page devoted to the A27 Action campaign, and devotes staff time to the campaign, with no other views acknowledged. Nick has staff issuing regular one-sided press releases, paid for by the tax-payer. We’re trying to redress the balance with our public meetings open to everyone.”

Kay Wagland, the group’s Chair pointed out they she had invited Nick Herbert to speak at their first public meeting, giving three weeks notice and asking him to ask someone else from the A27 Action campaign if he couldn’t come. “No-one came back to us, even though we chased Nick up. No-one was interested” she said. “Since the second meeting on November 3rd was simply a repeat of the first – so many people turned up that they couldn’t fit in the town hall, so we said we’d run another – we simply invited him on the same basis as everyone else in the town and would have been delighted if he had been able to come. It was short notice, but the Department for Transport process is so rushed, we couldn’t hang about and the church had only one date free. Our priority is for residents to be informed and to express their views before decisions are made without us.”

“We are asking that all the options in the Department for Transport Feasibility Study on the A27 should be kept open at this late stage, for discussion rather than relying on our MP and County Council representatives to convey what they believe local views to be, as they have clearly been unaware of those views until now.” said Sue White, Arundel businesswoman and group member. She continued, “Nick was clearly unaware that, far from being supportive of a new bypass as he’s claimed, many local people had no idea about it.” Hundreds of people from Arundel and its environs have attended Arundel SCATE meetings and others have contacted them to find out about A27 proposals.

They also fear that Nick Herbert doesn’t understand the classification of Tortington Common, part of the Binsted Woods complex popular with local people, which his favoured route would destroy. They explain that it is ‘ancient replanted’ woodland as recorded in the Sussex Woodland Inventory, but that their MP appears to believe that this simply means conifer plantation rather than a particular ancient woodland type. They feel that if he was aware of its value and the presence of dormice and threatened species there, he would not be suggesting that its destruction can be ‘offset’, ie by planting other trees on a new site, as it is not possible to offset ancient woodland.

Philip Gadsby, Arundel resident, pointed out that there is little substantive data coming from their MP or A27 Action beyond pointing out obvious congestion problems. He wondered if they were aware that West Sussex traffic levels were in decline (1), HGV levels on the A27 are very low (1) but that building a continuous dual carriageway A27 would draw in HGVs from other motorways to the A27, that most congestion is down to car journeys of less than 15 miles and that Alistair Darling rejected the favoured pink-blue route in 2003 for financial and environmental reasons rather than inaction.

He added that Arundel SCATE members were concerned that misinformation and lack of awareness meant that trunk road expansion was being pursued by authorities with little understanding of the real consequences, in the name of local people.

Arundel SCATE can be contacted at, Facebook at Arundel SCATE.

A27 Action launch

A27 Action – ‘an alliance of local councils, businesses and MPs who want to see the A27 upgraded‘ – had its big launch on 26 June at Worthing College. It may not have been entirely coincidence that the launch was held during rush hour and a stone’s throw from the A27, thereby pressing home the point that the road is unacceptably congested.

No New Roads
Participants arriving for the launch had to drive past a large ‘No New Roads’ banner, and a collection of people from various groups opposing further roadbuilding along the A27. Groups represented included Campaign for Better Transport (), Bricycles, Council for the Protection of Rural England (Sussex), Eastbourne FoE, Combe Haven Defenders and anti-road groups from Arundel and elsewhere. Most had arrived by train, bus or bicycle, thus proving that there are viable alternatives to driving along the A27.

The local media came along, and interviewed people from several groups, allowing them to put forward their case: not that there is not a problem with the A27, but that roadbuilding is not the answer. Investment is needed instead in decent, affordable public transport, as well as in walking and cycling. This would not only reduce carbon emissions, it would save vast amounts of money and avoid the terrible destruction of the countryside that will be caused if the road plans for the A27 go ahead.


End to end dual carriageway needed
The stated aim of A27 action is ‘[T]o present the Government with a robust case demonstrating the need for improving the A27 across West Sussex‘. To that end, the launch was addressed by the local MPs (Tim Loughton, Nick Herbert, Nick Gibb) and the leader of West Sussex County Council, Louise Goldsmith. All of them stressed the costs to business of the congestion along the A27 and how it is putting businesses off relocating to West Sussex. Louise Goldsmith stated that she would like the A27 to be a dual carriageway from end to end.

Ancient woodland at risk
Arundel MP Nick Herbert spoke about the need for a(nother) Arundel bypass. He dismissed the ‘online’ option (that is, enlarging the existing bypass) and said that the only acceptable solution was an ‘offline’ road along the ‘pink-blue route’. This cuts right through the ancient woodland of Tortington Common, as well as areas rich in protected species.


Don’t mention climate change
A question was raised about environmental issues: there is plenty of evidence that building new roads creates more traffic and therefore more carbon emissions. How can this be justified at a time when we’re facing catastrophic climate change? The speakers were momentarily flummoxed, but it didn’t take Tim Loughton MP long to jump up and start talking about emissions from stationery vehicles stuck in traffic jams – which are not, of course, the same thing as carbon emissions – thus skilfully avoiding the issue of climate change.

More A27 = more traffic
The A27 launch event also avoided mentioning the concept of induced demand – that is, that new roads create new traffic, as people who previously might have avoided driving and used alternatives, decide once the road is built that driving is a viable option after all. This has been known for many years – in 1994, the government’s Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment (SACTRA) report concluded that ëinduced traffic can and does occur, probably quite extensivelyí. This – rather large – elephant in the room was conveniently ignored, as ‘improving’ the A27 was presented as a miracle solution to transport problems.

Editor-in-chief takes a long drive
The final speaker at the meeting was Gary Shipton, editor-in-chief of most of the local newspapers in West Sussex. He was there to tell participants how to use the media to their advantage, and was unashamedly pro-roadbuilding himself. He arrived late, having spent, he told the meeting, three hours driving along the A27 from Portsmouth. Someone shouted out, “You should have come on the train!“. Indeed: had he done so, it would have taken him 55 minutes. It turns out that driving is not always the best option after all.