Fresh concern over latest Arundel bypass proposals to reduce congestion on A27 in West Sussex

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

Latest plans for a five mile dual carriageway designed to relieve congestion on an over capacity trunk road have been met with fresh opposition.

National Highways is consulting on proposals for the Arundel bypass in West Sussex as it fine tunes its design in preparation of Government examination.

The organisation believes it has the formula right after years of debate and modifications to the vision.

Villagers living in Walberton, along with Binsted and Tortington which will also be directly impacted, are fiercely opposed to the bypass which could cost up to £450 million.

A map of the proposed route of the 8km Arundel bypass Credit: National Highways

"Imagine living under that threat when you're in a quiet little village, you're minding my own business and then you've got a four lane highway being constructed", says Sally Ward of campaign group Walberton Friends and Neighbours which is worried about the village becoming a rat run.

National Highways had proposed 1,300 extra vehicles would travel through the centre of Walberton each day.

The newest scheme design puts that figure down to 100 a day.

However, campaigners argue the additional traffic is only being redirected elsewhere in the village and there could be as many as 800 extra movements daily.

"They will come onto the main road through Walberton where there's three educational establishments with 300 under 12 children" says Sally.

The Street in Walberton runs through the village Credit: ITV News Meridian

"We have children going to school and we feel that there's going to be an accident blackspot by the pond here in Walberton and then at the top where Tye Lane meets The Street because there's so many cars coming down.

"None of us want to see eight kilometers of countryside carved up when we can't afford it as a country.

"We can't afford it in terms of the carbon emissions it's going to cause. I mean, I'm standing here without a coat on, it's nearly Christmas, there are leaves on the trees."

The A27 Credit: ITV Meridian

Both campaigners and National Highways are encouraging people to get involved with the latest consultation which also includes details on a possible bridge being created at the Crossbush junction to reduce delays and new hedgerows to produce a 'bat corridor' to protect the animals.

Environmentalists argue the creatures will be at risk if the bulldozers move in.

"We do think this is significantly better design than on certain aspects. We also recognise there are many views out there", says National Highways project manager Andrew  Jackson.

"Not everybody is going to be content with the scheme. But there's an awful lot of people who desperately do want this scheme for the benefit that it will bring to the region.

"We've got a really good design. We think we've got the design that is appropriate but at the end of the day it's for the Planning Inspectorate to decide.

"We are merely putting a proposal together for them to examine and then for the Secretary of State to decide what he wants to do. But this is the right design."

National Highways claim the Arundel bypass would reduce journey times by nine minutes.

Campaigners say that's not possible given traffic lights are being built at the Fontwell East roundabout as part of an agreement decided in the summer between a housing developer and West Sussex County Council.

"What they haven't described in this consultation is that there will be traffic lights at the Fontwell East roundabout towards Slindon and Whiteways.

"We feel it is dishonest and despicable that National Highways have not put the information about the Fontwell East roundabout in the consultation. They say it came too late, but it was was announced in July, this is November. It's fundamental.

"I do not think they can say with their hands on their heart that this road will save nine minutes."

Andrew Jackson, National Highways project lead for the Arundel bypass said:

"The Fontwell traffic lights are not part of the A27 Arundel Bypass scheme, and are related to the housing development. However a study is ongoing regarding these lights to assess how they may improve future traffic flows.  

"The scheme is still in its preliminary stages and will start to move towards a more detailed design once the DCO submission has been finalised, and I’d like to reassure people that there is still plenty of time for people to help inform the final design.

"We are currently carrying out another consultation and welcome any feedback on our recent proposals. Any feedback that is specific to the Fontwell area will be taken into account with our ongoing assessments and relevant data will forwarded to further inform the feasibility study."

Public events on the latest consultation

  • Saturday 3 December 2022,

     Arundel Town Hall (Maltravers Street, Arundel, BN18 9AP), 10am to 4pm

  • Monday 5 December 2022, 

    Fontwell Park Racecourse, Arundel Road, Fontwell, BN18 OSY 11am to 7pm

  • Saturday 10 December 2022, 

    Walberton Pavilion, The Street, Walberton, BN18 0PJ 10am to 4pm  

2022 was at one point pegged as a completion date with highways bosses aiming for construction to start of late 2024 or early 2025, should planning permission be given.

Derek Waller from the Arundel A27 Bypass Support Group has lived in the town for five decades and says there's irritation over the time it's taking to create the new bypass,

"People are fed up waiting. Basically, the need is absolute and the delays make people frustrated.

"I'm in no doubt it will happen because it is a national requirement. This is one of the top places in the whole of the English Trunk Road Network for congestion."