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A27 Arundel - What's Happening?
Before Christmas, Highways England said they were going to announce their Preferred Route in January. Now, they say:
”Highways England is continuing to reflect upon the varied consultation feedback we have received from the public and stakeholders, and we have been developing the scheme further to ensure we have taken into account all the issues raised.
"This work has included further traffic modelling, economic and environmental assessments, and these are currently being reviewed to inform our final decision. We expect to publish the consultation report and to make an announcement on next steps by end of May.”
The 'next steps' might be to take forward a Preferred Route. Or they could announce another consultation on amended options. When they do announce a Preferred Route, that's still subject to
Development Consent Order,
Decision by a Planning Inspector, and
Decision by the Secretary of State.
Same old. Any Fresh Thinking?
Highways England's proposed options have been based on old thinking and limited understanding of local facts.
They have apparently been thrown out at Chichester and Worthing. They may also be thrown out at Arundel. How then to improve Sussex transport, as some improvements are plainly needed?
The South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment have commissioned independent consultants, Integrated Transport Planning Ltd, in association with University of the West of England (Bristol), to come up with a better strategic approach.
The experts' report is called "A New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast". This will be launched at several locations later this month with press releases and summaries. The full report will be available on www.scate.org.uk ("A New Transport Vision").
What else is happening around the Arundel A27?
Highways England's ecologists are beginning to gather data to add to MAVES data showing why Option 5A is the most ecologically damaging of their three options, whilst Option 3 which damages more designated ancient woodland comes a close second.
For example: we now know that not 13 but 14 (out of a theoretically possible 17) species of bats use this area. This connected patchwork habitat of wet woods and fields is proving to be of exceptional ecological importance. It is clear that its severance by a major new offline bypass cannot be effectively mitigated.
Arundel A27 Forum have hosted a number of talks in Arundel related to our area and to sustainable transport strategy; the presentation from the latest can be read on their website.
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