'˜Strong majority' will back Arundel bypass, MP says
A '˜very strong majority' of Arundel residents support an A27 bypass, according to the town's MP.
Highways England is expected to publish options for a bypass at Arundel later this month.
Nick Herbert, MP for Aundel and the South Downs, said: “I would just emphasise that everyone will have their chance to have a say.”
After the publication of the routes there will be a period of public consultation.
The issue of a bypass at Arundel has long been a source of controversy.
Groups who argue a bypass would be detrimental to areas of woodland have clashed with those who say a solution to traffic problems is crucial.
But Mr Herbert said: “There is a very strong environmental case for having a proper bypass.
“Some say that that will go through a very small section of National Park.”
But he added: “The existing A27 goes through the National Park.”
He argued that current traffic problems mean drivers go through Houghton, Amberley and Storrington instead, causing more air pollution in those areas.
Mr Herbert said: “I think there is a net environmental gain from having a bypass.”
A version similar to the ‘pink-blue’ route published at a previous consultation is expected to be among those released by Highways England on August 22.
The route has proved controversial because it could go through woods at Tortington Common – which some claim is ancient woodland.
Mr Herbert said he supports this route.
But he warned that if an agreement over an Arundel A27 solution is not reached, the money allocated for the project could be withdrawn.
He said: “We can’t afford to mess this up like they have done at Chichester.
“I warned people, we must not make the same mistake at Arundel.”
Plans to improve the A27 at Chichester were scrapped earlier this year.
Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling blamed withdrawal of support from local councils for shortlisted options and ‘significant local campaigns’.
But Mr Herbert believes most people in Arundel support an A27 bypass.
He said: “My judgement is there is very strong majority support for a bypass
“There is a minority who do not support it but they are a small minority.”