A27 Arundel bypass damaging preferred route announced
Following public consultation in 2017, Highways England have announced the preferred A27 Arundel bypass route.
From three possible options, a modified version of Option 5A has been chosen, and consists of a 4-mile dual carriageway between Crossbush junction and a new junction between Binstead Lane and Yapton Lane.
The consultation received nearly 10,000 responses from key stakeholders such as residents’ and environmental groups, including, Arundel SCATE, The Woodland Trust, and Sussex Wildlife Trust. Highways England claim the £250 million scheme will make journeys safer, reduce congestion and support economic growth. Their objectives to deliver a scheme that ‘minimises environmental impact…’ and ‘respects the South Downs National Park…’ is being met with scepticism and disappointment from environmental groups as the proposed route cuts through the South Downs National Park, Binstead Woods, and ancient woodland. Although Option 5A was favoured by most respondents, 17% had concerns about environmental impact, and it received the highest percentage of opposing comments from key stakeholders compared with Options 1 and 3. 82% of respondents felt that Option 1 would most respect the South Downs National Park.
The modifications include crossing River Arun further south to reduce impact on Tortington Priory monument, and a revised junction layout at the western end to lessen ancient woodland impact. However, as Sussex Wildlife Trust warn, the scheme will destroy irreplaceable woodland, ancient hedgerows and rare chalk stream habitat. Local residents are also concerned about the impact on the villages of Binstead, Walberton, and Tortington.
CPRE Sussex Director Kia Trainor says, “This decision does not fully take into account the enormous damage to irreplaceable habitats including ancient woodland which this new road would create……..We are very concerned that the countryside is being sacrificed in order to move a traffic jam further along the A27.”
Highways England are holding public information drop-in sessions at various sites in Arundel on 15th, 18th and 22nd May 2018. To view the Preferred Route Announcement Brochure, and supporting information, including drop-in session times, see www.highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a27-arundel-bypass/
Documents are available to view at Arundel Town Hall and several local libraries.
As a recent study by the Royal Town Planning Institute has shown, only 50% of housing in 12 expanding English cities is within 2 km of a train station, thus creating an ever-increasing dependency on cars. Making development sustainable using a joined-up approach is crucial, and the RTPI stress that badly located development and transport infrastructure could have serious economic, social and environmental impacts. http://www.rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/news-releases/2018/may/only-half-of-housing-built-within-2km-of-train-stations,-rtpi-study-finds/
Highways England will undertake further investigations, hold a statutory public consultation on the preferred route in early 2019, before applying for a Development Consent Order. The application will then be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport, with whom the final decision lies.