Hundreds pull up a pew to debate Arundel bypass

Pews were packed on Monday as Arundel residents gathered to discuss bats, bypasses and Binsted.
Hundreds of Arundel residents gathered to discuss all things bypassHundreds of Arundel residents gathered to discuss all things bypass
Hundreds of Arundel residents gathered to discuss all things bypass

Hundreds filled St Nicholas’ Church to discuss the A27 at a public meeting.

Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs kicked off the evening by reiterating his support for a bypass

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He said: “If you take this argument that if you build roads you just get more traffic, noise and pollution we would dig up the M25 and grow vegetables on it.

“I have always favoured the pink-blue route (Option 3).

“The is it goes through ancient replanted woodland. There is very significant protection for that woodland and an increased cost would have to be mitigated.

“I am open-minded about Option 5A, although I think it’s worse for Binsted itself.”

Darrell Gale, an Arundel resident of 16 years, said: “The Highways England proposals were commissioned to build a dual carriageway around Arundel and not to resolve Arundel’s traffic problems.

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“In this respect I believe the commision to be fundamentally flawed.

“Highways England has its job to do but their top priority is not Arundel or its people.”

Richard Smith, who lives in Pearson Road, focussed on the environmental issues posed by options 3 and 5A: “When you build roads you just get more traffic.

“Can’t we look at an online option toward easing all this destruction?”

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Discussing Option 5A, the so-called ‘Binsted route’, ecological specialist Jackie Thompson said: “We have 13 species of bats [in Binsted Wood], three of which are extremely scarce in England.”

She said these and other species would be threatened by Option 5A: “A road round the woods would cut off the bloodlines to the woodland.”

But Colin Adams of Maltravers Street called on people to be ‘responsible citizens’.

He said: “I think it is time we in Arundel take a much less nimby view of this and look far more globally at this and help people in West Sussex not just Arundel.”

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Many at the meeting asked why a new road could not be avoided entirely by simply building a tunnel.

Alan Feist, A27 programme lead for Highways England, said: “A tunnel is completely unaffordable.

“We did look at it and it has been discounted on cost grounds.”

He praised the ‘high quality debate’, saying it ‘really shows what a challenge building around here is’.

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