Arundel Bypass: Schoolchildren to join villagers at 'silent protest'

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Villagers, parents and schoolchildren are set to take part in a 'silent protest' against the A27 Arundel Bypass.

Campaigners against the 'grey route' plan to hold a peaceful demonstration from 11am on Monday, February 21, at Walberton Village Hall — where one of National Highways' last consultation events is being held.

Parents and children from Walberton & Binsted Primary School, Walberton Playcentre and Walberton Pre-School & Nursery will join supporters of the ‘Say No to Grey’ campaign. They will be displaying banners and posters made by the children and residents of the village to 'show the strength of feeling and concern about the plan'.

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"Walberton is one of four villages that will be severely affected by the Arundel Bypass," a campaign for the Stop the Arundel Bypass (SAB) Alliance said.

Pictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions on The Street in Walberton. Campaigners fear the situation will worsen if the estimate of an additional 1,300 additional vehicles proves true when the bypass is built. Photo: Pete Nichols  SUS-220216-110414001Pictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions on The Street in Walberton. Campaigners fear the situation will worsen if the estimate of an additional 1,300 additional vehicles proves true when the bypass is built. Photo: Pete Nichols  SUS-220216-110414001
Pictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions on The Street in Walberton. Campaigners fear the situation will worsen if the estimate of an additional 1,300 additional vehicles proves true when the bypass is built. Photo: Pete Nichols SUS-220216-110414001

"The proposed four-lane highway will pass less than 160m from the school on the north side and force an increase of 42 per cent in traffic along The Street in Walberton on the south side — with 300 Under 12s trapped in between."

National Highways revealed this week that up to 1,000 people have taken part in the consultation, as the eight-week process approaches its half-way point.

The developers said the consultation is an opportunity for members of the public to help shape plans for the A27 at Arundel, which is 'one of the largest road projects in the South East'. Click here to read more

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The proposals have received some support, with One Arundel stating that ‘the sooner we see this bypass approved, the better’.

Pictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions on The Street in Walberton. Campaigners fear the situation will worsen if the estimate of an additional 1,300 additional vehicles proves true when the bypass is built. Pictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions on The Street in Walberton. Campaigners fear the situation will worsen if the estimate of an additional 1,300 additional vehicles proves true when the bypass is built. Photo: Pete NicholsPictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions on The Street in Walberton. Campaigners fear the situation will worsen if the estimate of an additional 1,300 additional vehicles proves true when the bypass is built. Pictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions on The Street in Walberton. Campaigners fear the situation will worsen if the estimate of an additional 1,300 additional vehicles proves true when the bypass is built. Photo: Pete Nichols
Pictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions on The Street in Walberton. Campaigners fear the situation will worsen if the estimate of an additional 1,300 additional vehicles proves true when the bypass is built. Pictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions on The Street in Walberton. Campaigners fear the situation will worsen if the estimate of an additional 1,300 additional vehicles proves true when the bypass is built. Photo: Pete Nichols

However, campaigners have expressed major concern about the estimated 1,300 additional vehicles that will try to 'navigate the narrow main street' of Walberton, per day, and pass the two entrances to the school and play centres.

Pictures taken last week show vehicles mounting the pavement to avoid collisions.

The SAB Alliance spokesperson added: "The Street has numerous areas without pavements and is already dangerous for pupils and their families, as vehicles often mount the pavement as they try to pass each other along this, often single track, road.

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"With the spiralling costs of the road (currently circa £0.5billion) and the decreasing benefit to cost ratio, campaigners want the county council, MPs and decision makers to listen to

The SAB Alliance said 'it is not too late to stop the grey route'.The SAB Alliance said 'it is not too late to stop the grey route'.
The SAB Alliance said 'it is not too late to stop the grey route'.

those who will be most impacted.

"It is not too late to stop the grey route. There is a viable, cheaper, less destructive alternative if government and planners could be persuaded to look at the plan again."

The campaigners have argued that the road will lead to 'destruction of wildlife habitats and green spaces' and 'increasing pollution', as the traffic 'stacks up at the new pinch point at Fontwell'.

They said this will all 'contribute to a decrease in quality of life' and an 'increase in mental health issues' and associated health worries in the village.

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Sally Ward from Walberton Friends and Neighbours said: "We've spoken with Walberton Pre-School and Nursery and we share a deep anxiety that this ill-thought out plan will result in

inevitable injuries or deaths to children trying to get in and out of their education/play centres.

"We also fear that National Highways are not listening to our very real concerns.

"We want to express our strong opposition to National Highways’ plans."

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Have you read?: Extinction Rebellion joins protest against A27 Arundel BypassAndrew Jackson, senior project manager at National Highways for the A27 Arundel Bypass project, spoke to this newspaper last month.

He said the project team took the grey route, which was decided in October 2020, and 'improved, refined and developed' that design to 'make sure it is the best possible route'.

However, 'it is not yet complete'.

Mr Jackson added: "We have got it to a good point where it is appropriate that we share that with the public.

"We are seeking as much as possible views back from the public on this route and design. How it affects individual people and properties so we can try and refine it so we can do the best possible for everybody."

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Those still looking to make their voices heard can attend events at the following locations:

- Walberton Village Hall – Monday 21 February 11am – 7pm

- Littlehampton Town Council Manor House – Tuesday 22 February 11am – 7pm

- Cathedral Centre, Arundel – Thursday 24 February 11am – 7pm

The mobile display van will also be at:

- Burpham Village Recreation Ground – Thursday 17 February 10am – 2pm

- Regis Centre Car Park, Bognor Regis – Friday 18 February 10am – 2pm

- Whiteways Car Park, Arundel – Saturday 19 February 10am – 2pm

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