The South Downs National Park advertises that it has 10,000 hectares of natural woodland for the public to freely access and enjoy (a hectare is about the size of a football pitch).
Twenty hectares of scrubby plantation that is not, and never will be, available for the pubic to access and enjoy has become the ‘focal point’ of the latest Highways England consultation of the long-running A27 trunk road upgrading. Failure at Chichester and failure at Worthing seems soon to be joined by another failure at Arundel.
Residents of Arundel town seem desperate not to have the original bypass enhanced online (cyan or beige).
Residents of Walberton parish (which includes Fontwell and Binsted) also seem desperate not to have the magenta option as it destroys the village of Binsted, severs the parish in two (so much so that the only way to travel from one side to another by vehicle is by leaving and re-joining the parish) and creates a monstrous 20 hectare motorway-style interchange at the top of Yapton lane providing north-south-east-west access and thus creating a north-south super highway from the A29 to A259 along narrow Sussex lanes and shifts rat-running from Arundel to the centre of Walberton and its conservations areas. The crimson route is the shortest and cheapest of the off line options, affects just three houses and does not affect any ancient and veteran trees.
Two communities both anxious to avoid the sum of all their fears.
It was all too obvious from the Arun District council special meeting on Thursday evening that the two major political parties had been ‘whipped in’ to support magenta and that they fully expect West Sussex Council to do the same on October 21.
The feeling was that, without very much debate on the community effects of the scheme, if these larger forums of the elected representatives did not settle on a consensus then the scheme would be lost, like Chichester and Worthing in the past. The ‘least worse’ option is good enough.
Crimson is viable and deliverable and would have the support of all with real skin in the game.
Generations to come will never forgive those we have elected if we end up with ‘winners and losers’ from this debacle.