|Previous Crossbush A27works 2 years ago.|
Many people ask me when if ever the Arundel Bypass will be built. I believe it will take us 10 years to deliver this important infrastructure, the government to their credit has announced a feasibility study for providing a by-pass, but due to civil servants dragging their feet, it won’t report until 2015. How many studies have we had over the last ten years? and how much has that cost? I despair with our civil service and I believe Britain prospers despite the civil service.
But more importantly I believe the residents of Arundel should more worry about the route the By-pass will take. The Department Of Transport back in the early nineties set the Pink Blue route as the preferred route and all levels of local government (County, District and Arundel Towns councils) have supported this.
Twenty years ago when the dual carriageway to Crossbush was built the Arundel Bypass was weeks away from being started, but was scuppered by local campaigners who managed to get the government to cancel the by-pass and have left us with increasingly an unworkable status quo.
In 2003 in a personal meeting, the then Arundel MP (Howard Flight) was promised by the Secretary of State Alistair Darling that he would in two days give the approval to the by-pass using the Pink Blue route.
Two days later in a statement to the House of Commons, Alistair Darling reneged on that promise saying the following
"The Arundel bypass would cut across water meadows damaging an area of Outstanding beauty. I am rejecting this proposal......In my view [it] has environmental consequences that are unacceptable and avoidable. There are problems [on this] road, and I am therefore asking the Highways Agency to identify [an] alternative solution, recognising the need to support planned
In a follow up written statement he said the following
"The Secretary of State does not support ... a bypass at Arundel ...as currently recommended by the study. A bypass of Arundel would have negative impacts on heritage and landscape as well as the water environment. The Secretary of State is therefore asking the Highways Agency to work with local authorities and Statutory Environmental Bodies to identify less damaging options .. and to report back to him."
You will note the change from:
"The Arundel bypass would cut across water meadows damaging an area of outstanding beauty" to "A bypass of Arundel would have negative impacts on heritage and landscape as well as the water environment".
The point is that the area to the South of Arundel was never in the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), and this suggests that Alistair Darling took his House of Commons words directly from a last-minute Countryside Agency/Defra/Margaret Beckett memo rather than from an accurate and thought-out piece of advice from his officials and those at the Highways Agency. NB - Margaret Beckett was senior to him in both the Cabinet and the Labour Party!
|Pink Blue route.|
The Past is the past and we can’t change that, but unfortunately the Highways Agency is trying to open the route question again and to have a partial online solution. This would involve taking a dual carriageway to the bottom of Hospital hill and then taking the route from there offline to Crossbush via a new bridge and south of the railway station.
This is something I and local MP Nick Herbert have been fighting against; I also believe that the residents of Arundel would rather have NO bypass than have this route imposed on them. This is something I believe as a community we have to reject and tell the Highways Agency that we want the Pink Blue Route which is still the preferred route, minor tweaks I believe we can live with, but not a major re-alignment of the route. I will fight and campaign to ensure this happens to the best of my ability.
Until next month, Paul Dendle is Arundel Ward & Cabinet Member on Arun District Council and can be contacted at his email Pauldendle@aol.com