The Binsted Strawberry Fair on 19 July was one of the best ever, and has raised over £7,000 for Binsted church’s fabric, the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and Friends of Chichester Hospitals. ABNC had an information stand about Binsted and the Arundel bypass. This attracted a lot of interest from the nearly 1000 people who came to the Fair.
There was quite a buzz around the stands celebrating and informing about the local countryside: the South Downs National Park Rangers, the new local-based Mid Arun Valley Ecological Survey group (MAVES), the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and the Worthing Archaeological Society who have found all sorts in the area from medieval tile kilns to Roman villas.
There was also a fair buzz about the ABNC stand, by the strawberry cream teas the other side of the 200-year-old flint threshing barn. The display headline, ‘Binsted’s Strawberry Fair fields under Threat from Arundel bypass’, shocked many people.
The colours of the bypass routes on our map were as vivid as the sunshine and bright colours of strawberries, flowering plants and gaudy books for sale, amid the beautiful surroundings and brooding presence nearby of Binsted Woods.
The new ‘Stakeholder Group’ meeting about the bypass had taken place on 16 July three days before. Little information was given out so we presented an indicative map:
In our other panel was a summary of the other options as described at the meeting. They are no longer given letters. The Highways England route colours on the latest ‘schematic map’ - a conceptual map like the London tube map – are confusing.
Right: 4 options on the Nov 2014 Parsons Brinckerhoff schematic map
Left: 5 options on the July 2015 PB schematic map: these correspond to, from right to left:
(a) junction improvements only (= no.1 below)
(b) a short bypass plus online improvements = the old Purple route (=no.2 below)
(c) the old Red route (like no.3 below but moved eastwards)
(d) the old Pink/Blue route (Option A) (= no.3 below)
(e) the newish and uncertain route through Binsted (= 4a or 4b below)
Highways England and the consultants have still not decided which Binsted route to try. This is understandable because Binsted is such a special place that there is no acceptable option to go for; really they should stop trying. But at the meeting on 16 July, impact on ‘houses and businesses’ from the Binsted option was mentioned. This suggests the 4b route through the Strawberry Fair fields. Other new information from the meeting is that the northern junction with the A27 is two-level, not, as the March report stated, a roundabout; but it is still unclear whether this two level junction would, for the Binsted option, be at the easterly location (nearer Binsted Lane West) or the westerly location (nearer Yapton Lane) that they have in mind.
Bill Treves, who attended the 16th July meeting for ABNC, reported that all the workshop tables recognized that any route through Binsted would be unacceptably damaging. Highways England will have taken note of that. And they are still considering four other options which do not go through Binsted.
Nevertheless the threat to Binsted's village and countryside remains a real one. If the route through Tortington Common does not prove acceptable, many of those who are advocating a major new all-offline bypass may start to push for a route through Binsted. Routes through Binsted have been considered and rejected before: they would be more economically, environmentally and socially damaging than the former Preferred Route. But there are passionate advocates of a 'South Coast Motorway' who would not baulk at such an idea if other options prove difficult. Our MP himself, who has said that he opposes the Binsted option, has also warned that if people object to his preferred bypass route they may end up with a Binsted route instead.
We realize every Strawberry Fair time, and every time we go to our popular Black Horse pub, how fortunate Binsted is to have so many friends who love this village and its countryside. If you are a friend of Binsted please email your contacts a link to this blog and ask them to consider registering on our website as ABNC supporters - or click here to do so.