DUNCAN BARKES: Excuse the stubble, I drove via the A27

We live in one of the most affluent parts of England and yet some of our road networks are positively archaic.

Vast amounts of cash are paid to the government in road tax, fuel duty and in so many other ways, yet we are still expected to put up with the notorious Crossbush bottleneck on the A27.

This stretch of road has the ability to suck the life out of you.

It can take so long to pass through the area that you can see the seasons changing.

In the time it takes to snake along the A27 on the Arundel stretch I have, even on a ‘quick’ day, grown some pretty impressive stubble.

Nick Herbert, the excellent Arundel MP, has long campaigned for a bypass and various local councils have occasionally chucked money at studies to add weight to the case, but anyone with a brain cell can see the need.

Of course it is not just Arundel residents and visitors who would benefit massively from a bypass at this hot spot, but also those travelling from Chichester and Worthing.

The A27 gets pretty clogged at the best of times and the Crosbush bottleneck further adds to tedious and time-wasting blockages.

A recent report estimated the hold-ups caused by this inadequate strip of road cost the Sussex economy two billion pounds a year.

Given the state of the economy, you would have hoped that investing in new infrastructure would be a priority.

The Highways Agency has reportedly said bypasses for Arundel, Chichester and Worthing parts of the A27 are not on their radar and any consideration on this matter would not be until 2020 at the earliest. Not good enough.

As well as affecting local businesses, making life hell for anyone who regularly travels along the south coast and surely having a negative impact on tourism, the problem will only get worse as more houses are built in the area.

The fight for an Arundel bypass seems to be waning, but it is more important than ever. Perhaps if transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin were not so obsessed with extra runways at Heathrow or the ghastly HS2 rail project, we might finally make some headway.

Until then the only headway you’ll make on this route will be at the pace of an extremely arthritic snail.

Chapel hosts umissable concert

Chichester’s St John’s Chapel is a superb venue for concerts.

The Minerva Ensemble is a superbly-talented bunch of musicians.

In a not-to-be-missed concert (Brahms G major Sextet and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence) you can revel in both the ambience of St John’s and magnificent musicianship – and raise money for St Wilf’s while you do so.

The concert will be taking place on Sunday, June 23 at 6.30pm. Tickets are available on 01243 813595 or via 
www.chichestertickets.co.uk