A27 Arundel Bypass: All you need to know as public consultation draws to a close
Here’s a beginner’s guide to the proposed route, with all the pros and cons, including advice from local councils.
What is the “grey road”?
National Highways said its plans to upgrade the A27 at Arundel will include a ‘combination of improvements’ along the existing route through the South Downs National Park and Arundel.
In 2019, National Motorways offered six color options for the A27 bypass that the public could have a say in. Thousands of people responded to the consultation before it was announced in October 2020 that the “grey road” had been chosen as the one she hopes to build.
The ‘grey route’ includes new bridges spanning the River Arun, over the Arun Valley Railway and over Binsted Rife, as well as a new junction at Crossbush, ‘finally ending’ the ‘road to nowhere”.
According to plans, around 8km (4.9 miles) of new dual carriageway will be created south of the existing A27 from Crossbush to Fontwell roundabout. About 6.6 km (4.1 miles) of the existing A27 will be “unbundled”.
“We are here to offer a solution”
Speaking at the National Motorways final consultation event in Arundel on Thursday December 24, Principal Project Manager Camelia Lichtl said the existing A27 is currently experiencing a “high level of accidents and congestion”.
She added: “We are here to deliver a solution that will connect coastal communities, improve support for businesses, schools, hospitals and anyone using the existing A27.
“This will improve driver safety [and] managing economic growth.
“It will also improve accessibility for pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists.
“We will ensure that the longer communities are fully considered as part of the statutory consultation process. Comments will be taken into account.”
What did the county council say?
Activists marched to County Hall in Chichester on Thursday to show their opposition to the gray ‘route’ of national highways. The group of 60 gathered in the rain before delivering a letter to West Sussex County Council setting out their concerns.
That morning, the council’s Communities, Highways and Environment Review Committee was tasked with reviewing the council’s draft response.
But as they debated the issue for nearly two hours, they were frustrated that a series of questions were not answered in the consultation documents.
It came after West Sussex County Council said improving the A27 at Arundel was one of its ‘highest transport priorities’.
A spokesperson said: “Improvements are needed to increase capacity and improve reliability and safety, which will help boost local businesses and attract investment. However, the county council acknowledges that stakeholders are concerned about the project’s impact on the environment and local communities.
“Although it is proposed that the County Council will give support ‘in principle’ to the proposed Arundel A27 Bypass of the National Highways, there are a number of areas of concern which need to be satisfactorily addressed.
“These include the need for more information from national highways on traffic impacts, and clarity on construction phase elements, and measures to mitigate and enhance biodiversity and public rights of way.
“Further clarification is needed on how local people and supply chains can benefit from the construction, including new employment and training opportunities, as well as on the disaggregation strategy and its role in the mitigation and enhancement of the area.
“Additional analysis and consideration of potential impacts on businesses and local communities from noise and air quality, as well as climate change adaptation and carbon emissions measures are also needed.”
The county council said the current National Highways scheme requires a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Secretary of State rather than planning permission from the local planning authority.
Although the County Council is a person statutorily consulted in the DCO process with specific responsibilities, it is not a decision maker.
Therefore, comments on project impacts should be directed to national roads.
The board’s draft consultation response was reviewed on February 24. The final answer will be decided in public cabinet on March 16.
And the neighborhood council?
Arun district councilors also had their say on the ‘divider’ road project.
During a lengthy four-hour meeting on Thursday March 3, it became clear that few, if any, councilors were happy with the preferred gray route of the National Highways, but it was ultimately touted as “better than no circumvention at all”.
The council previously announced its support for the Magenta route which is no longer on the table. Click here to read more
What did activists support?
Hundreds of local villagers surrounding Arundel have condemned the bypass plans.
A number of peaceful protests have taken place as activists voice concerns about safety and environmental impact.
More recently, eco-enthusiasts were accompanied by a lone protester in the ‘form of an anonymous ghost’ on a tour of one of the villages that were to be affected.
Dozens of people marched from Walberton and Arundel to meet in Binsted on Sunday, to examine the proposed bypass on both sides and ‘envision the devastation it will cause to the countryside’.
Tor Lawrence, chief executive of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, joined the march. He said: “We ask the 40,000 members of the Sussex Wildlife Trust to take the time to respond to this consultation and oppose this scheme. Seeing firsthand the devastation this road will cause to wildlife and communities has was shocking.”
Ahead of that, parents and children from Walberton & Binsted Primary School, Walberton Playcentre and Walberton Pre-School & Nursery joined supporters of the ‘Say No to Grey’ campaign for a protest outside Walberton Village Hall. They displayed banners and posters made by children and villagers to “show the strength of feelings and concern about the plan”.
Campaigners said: ‘The proposed four-lane motorway will pass within 160m of the school on the north side and will force a 42% increase in traffic along the street in Walberton on the south side – with 300 less than 12 years stuck in between.
“It is not too late to stop the gray road. There is a viable, cheaper and less destructive alternative if government and planners can be persuaded to revise the plan.”
Is there support for bypassing?
Yes, not everyone is against the plans.
Derek Waller, vice-president of OneArundel, a bypass support group, said: “This is a consultation on the detail of the preferred route. This is what we are stuck with.
“We didn’t get involved in the wider debate about future roads and traffic. We assumed the government knew what it was doing.”
Another member, Nick Field, said, “Something has to be done. We need a workaround.
“You have traffic jams sitting there during the day which are fuming through the city center which is not good for anyone.
“The A27 is really not fit for purpose. There will be more construction in the area, whether we like it or not, so traffic will increase.
“There are big traffic jams and eventually there will be traffic jams.
“People say they don’t want it near their homes. We think this is an unreasonable position. Whatever you build will always affect someone. There is no perfect situation. »
The future of a golf club in Arundel is being considered due to bypass plans.
The Avisford Park Golf Club course, clubhouse, car park and access road would be ‘directly affected’ by the proposed National Highways scheme.
Ms Lichtl said: “We are in discussions with the owners of the club and are considering two options: a smaller nine-hole course with driving range and other facilities, or an alternative 18-hole course using nearby land.