Bypassing the existing bypass, it would cross the important River Arun wetlands south of Arundel on concrete stilts or a huge embankment, and then plough through a mile of precious Sussex woodland. Thousands, probably tens of thousands, of trees would be lost, including some fine 100 foot oak trees, yews, and one particular 100 foot beech tree, thought to be the oldest tree in the woods.
Protestors are meeting on Sunday 29th June for a walk along the proposed bypass route. Meet at 2pm outside the 'Red Lion' Pub, High Street Arundel.
Situated on the A27 - the main trunk road along the south coast - Arundel, along with many other towns and villages, suffers from the continuing increase in traffic pollution. Even in 1070 - the year history tells us Roger de Montgomery founded Arundel Castle - traffic was a problem. This time river traffic as well as road, as Arundel sits conveniently on the river Arun - hence it's name - and in those times of invasion and battles quite a chaotic place.
By 1960 the town had enough. With the Beeching cuts in the rail network and road traffic increasing, Arundel campaigned successfully for a bypass, this was built about 1970. Clearly the town was overjoyed by the cut in noise and fumes as through traffic reduced, However Arundel's euphoria was soon overtaken by gloom, as the capacity of the A27 either side of the bypass was steadily increased with the upgrading of the road to dual carriageway
Today's Arundel is becoming concerned that all this extra traffic will soon overload the bypass.
So what's the plan? Well of course the pressure is on to build a second bypass, the infamous 'Bypass of the bypass'.
But the problem for decision makers is how to put a dual carriageway - as that is what a second bypass must surely be - across the Arun valley without damaging the important water meadows and views down the Arun valley, then how to cut through ancient woodland in the Binstead Wood area without great harm to that eco-system.
In the scheme put forward some years ago, a structure some 30 feet high was proposed to carry the traffic on the dual carriageway across the valley - the so called motorway on stilts scheme. Naturally there was uproar, as such an alien structure would destroy the setting of Arundel and the magnificent views down the Arun valley. It was even rumored that Roger de Montgomery would rise up and join eco warriors to defeat the scheme.
As for the ancient woodland around Binstead and Tortington Common, these are important biological site of nature conservation value. They supports plant and animal communities that have developed over thousands of years. The proposed alignment for the road would split habitats and nature conservation sites into smaller and less viable areas.
As you would expect, we believe the environmental cost is to great and any gain of reduced traffic congestion, soon lost as the extra road capacity is filled by induced traffic. A more sustainable approach than to build more road space would be to reduce the need to commute by car. Public transport must be made more user friendly and the need to commute to work over greater and greater distances reversed. Planners have a great responsibility to see that more goods are produced locally in the community.
FOr more info check out South Coast Against Roadbuilding and Road Alert