30 November 2020
Members of Arun Green Party have long been fighting beside other environmental groups trying to prevent the building of the controversial Arundel bypass. They reacted with shock this week to the news that the route chosen by Highways England would slice through three heritage villages, skirting two priceless medieval churches at Tortington and Binsted as well as the precious Arun valley, chalk streams and farmland on a long detour predicted to cost twice the originally budgeted sum.
Faye Catterson, Green councillor for Arundel, said, ‘I cannot believe the destruction to our residents’ lives that would be the result of this road. My heart goes out to those living in Tortington, Binsted and Walberton who will be deprived of their peace, and beautiful surroundings if this goes ahead.’ Her fellow councillor, Isabel Thurston, added, ‘There is a belief among some outspoken people that this road will solve all local congestion problems. However, the sad truth is that congestion on local roads will get a whole lot worse as traffic fights to get up to the new bypass, causing misery to those living in the six villages to the south in particular.’
By Highways Englands’ own admission, over 50% of those who responded to the consultation opted for either the ‘online’ route – sticking to the existing route’ or ‘do nothing’. It turns out that the majority of people do not wish for this bypass. And yet they are having it foisted upon them as part of the government’s plan to build a 70 mph superhighway across the country.
Carol Birch, Co-ordinator of the party, said, ‘We are in a Climate Emergency and as a country are aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050. As locals know only too well, bottlenecks occur at Chichester and Worthing which make this exercise pointless. There is strong evidence that new roads attract more traffic, and this action will make the problems elsewhere much worse.’ She added, ‘We have been lobbying for more and better public transport and active travel routes. These are now being planned but are at least five years too late. Meanwhile the government can think of nothing but ploughing on with this out of date scheme, first mooted in 1970 and always considered too destructive. At a time when more people wish to walk and cycle, and homeworking has become part of daily life, this would have been the time to cancel such a vast white elephant of a scheme and transfer the budget to other transport improvements.’
The party calls on all those angered and horrified by the damage that would be done by the Grey Route bypass, to join the continuing fight against this road, by joining South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE)
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