Call to extend the South Downs National Park boundary to protect green corridor south of Arundel

An urgent debate on extending the South Downs National Park to stop a green corridor to the sea being bulldozed has been called for.

Michael Ward is worried the existing national park boundary around Arundel mostly north of the A27, puts huge pressure on an important habitat south towards the sea that is vital for wildlife and tourism.

“The Arun Valley, running south of Arundel to the sea at Climping, is one of a handful of remaining green corridors linking the downs to the coast,” said , Labour’s candidate for Arundel and Courtwick in the West Sussex County Council elections.

“We are already seeing the devastating results of over-development in this area and the proposed by-pass, incinerator at Ford and continued unstructured house building will blight this area permanently.

Labour candidate Michael Ward by the river

“We need to protect this land before it is too late.

“The water meadows are an irreplaceable asset – a home for wildlife, and a route for people wanting to walk or cycle to the beach without using main roads.”

Mr Ward supports the Arundel Alternative plans to upgrade the existing A27 and is opposed to the Tory/Lib Dem backed £480m by-pass which would be cut across the meadows blocking views of Arundel and creating noise and air pollution.

“We hold these landscapes in trust for future generations,” he said.

View of Arundel from the Arun Valley before the raised by-pass is built

“They are not ours to destroy.

“We must make a stand before our valley is concreted over.”

The last Labour government set up the National Park 11 years ago, he said.

In 2003, Labour’s Transport Minister, Alastair Darling rejected an earlier bypass proposal – identical with the current Grey Route – saying: “...the Arundel bypass would cut across water meadows damaging an area of outstanding beauty. I am rejecting that proposal...” (Hansard, 9 July, 2003), Mr Ward said.

View of Arundel from the Arun Valley after the raised by-pass is built according to Mr Ward

“The latest road proposed ‘grey route’ raises renewed concern about over-development in this precious landscape,” Mr Ward added.