Arundel bypass consultation 'full of errors', campaigners say

Traffic in Arundel
Traffic in Arundel

Consultation over the proposed Arundel bypass is flawed and 'full of errors' according to a campaign group.

Highways England unveiled six possible routes for the bypass at the launch of its public consultation on August 30.

The five options for the Arundel bypass. Picture via Highways England

The five options for the Arundel bypass. Picture via Highways England

READ MORE: Arundel Bypass: watch simulations of the six proposed routes

"Highways England’s information is full of misleading statements," said Emma Tristram, secretary of the Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee.

"They say their new dual carriageway scheme would protect the local environment – but whose local environment?

"They appear to be guiding people towards offline routes which cut across the National Park, villages, woodlands and important local wildlife habitats."

The campaigners say they have noticed a number of errors and assumptions and claim that Highways England’s second consultation is 'as flawed as the first one', which was the subject of a judicial review.

READ MORE: High Court approves Arundel Bypass challenge

Kay Wagland of Arundel SCATE (South Coast Alliance on Transport and the Environment) said: "The consultation is a publicity campaign full of errors and dubious assumptions, rather than a full and balanced presentation of information and real options.

"For instance, the scheme assumes Worthing and Lyminster schemes have been completed – there are doubts whether they will be.

Camilla Lambert, chair of the Arun Countryside Trust said: "The new documents show grandiose plans, most of which are admitted to be unaffordable, and they completely disregard the climate crisis.

"The Royal Town Planning Institute has said everything must be planned from the start so as to be carbon neutral. New roads increase traffic, and this increases carbon emissions: Highways England lists the increased emissions in their documents."

Bill Treves lives in Binsted and said the new road options would have a 'devastating' impact on his community.

"The Amber option is bad for Binsted, but Magenta would crucify the village - It snakes from end to end of the village, destroying properties left right and centre, and leaving what’s left of us separated by four lanes of 70mph traffic.’

"No more village, no more community, no more Strawberry Fair, no more Arts Festival, no more pub, no more services in our 12th-century church, no more future, no more hope. It’s an absurdly massive level of destruction to save just a few minutes’ driving time."

The campaigners say that Highways England has designed its questionnaire in a way which makes it almost impossible to support the ‘Arundel Alternative’.

"They want a dual carriageway scheme," Emma Tristram added, "but there is no way to show that you think a damaging dual carriageway scheme is out of the question, and still have your response counted.

"A much less damaging solution would be the ‘Arundel Alternative’, developed by local people and supported by many environmental groups," Kay said.

"It’s a short section of wide single carriageway bypass at 40 mph, cutting out pinch points, and allowing traffic to flow without ruining our local environment."

A Highways England spokesperson said: "Upgrading the A27 at Arundel will address one of the worst congestion black spots in the South East and will draw traffic away from smaller, less suitable roads through the South Downs National Park.

"We have identified a small number of corrections needed to the consultation brochure, which we have taken immediate steps to address.

"Because we are committed to a full and open consultation and we want people responding to the consultation to have all the available information, we have written to everyone who we contacted at the start of the consultation to explain the changes to the information.

"All six options in the consultation have been assessed in greater detail than before so that people can see and understand all the factors and help us decide which one strikes the right balance. "