ABNC Press Release issued 11.9.17
Campaigners fighting plans for a new bypass through protected Sussex countryside have produced a revealing 'bird’s eye view' film which they say proves the proposal is far more damaging than Highways England is suggesting.
The proposal, which is one of three possible options being considered for an Arundel bypass, would mean building a new road along the edge of the South Downs – slicing through ancient woodland, local heritage sites and the village of Binsted which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book.
Local people say Highways England has underplayed the visual, environmental and cultural impact of the proposal and have produced the film to prove it. The footage, which is to be published on the Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee website on Wednesday (Sept 13), follows the route from the air, giving a bird’s eye view of the countryside at risk:
The film’s release is timed to coincide with a digitally animated film produced by Highways England (also released this week) to promote the proposal. Villagers say the HE film glosses over the issues and shows nothing of Binsted’s reality.
“Our real-world pictures give the lie to Highways England’s consultation misinformation”, says Bill Treves, who lives in the village of Binsted which would be divided by the road. “Their mistakes and omissions tend to make the option through our community (Option 5A) look better than the others.”
“This is one of the most beautiful areas in this part of Sussex, but anyone looking at the consultation material would not know there was any such thing as Binsted village or Binsted Woods”, added resident artist and designer Gilly McCadden. “We who love this place are worried that because of these errors, people will think Option 5A does little or no damage and vote for it.”
The film, “Save Binsted”, looks down on the proposed route showing the landscape at risk and pointing out local landmarks including the ancient woodland of ‘Hundred House Copse’, an Iron Age earthwork, an Anglo Saxon meeting place and the historic Binsted Park estate.
“Binsted is a village of 38 houses, a church and a pub - 8 of the buildings are listed”, says Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee Secretary Emma Tristram. “The village is partly in the National Park, and partly within the vast, mysterious woodlands of Binsted woods. With its woods and countryside, Binsted is much loved by visitors, walkers, riders and cyclists from all around.”
The campaigners have written to Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport (letter attached), pointing out that a Public Consultation based on such faulty information and apparent bias in the consultation materials could undermine the validity of any decision taken.
The campaigners’ Committee (ABNC) has cited the following examples of serious failings in the Highways England consultation documents:
· No indication of the impact on the village of Binsted
· No indication of the impact on Binsted Woods (250 acres of broadleaved woodland called ‘nationally important’ in the 1992 comparison of Bypass routes)
· Misleading maps showing parts of Binsted Woods as white space
· Based on outdated ecological data
· Unconvincing changes to Cost Benefit Analysis since 2015, which make the Binsted Option look better than the others
· Important heritage asset (Binsted Park) left out, though Option 5A destroys it
· Binsted Park’s name used erroneously for Tortington Common
"Highways England launched the Arundel A27 Consultation with a press release in which they claimed that the Option 5A route was 'passing between the South Downs National Park and Binsted Woods', so a lot of people have been misled into thinking it protects both of those", said ABNC Committee Member and National Park Partnership member Mike Tristram. "The truth is it does nothing of the sort. It goes through the National Park at Binsted, and it goes through parts of Binsted Woods - including some of the best parts such as Hundred House Copse. Far from being the least-damaging option to the local environment: it's the worst."
ABNC has asked Chris Grayling to urgently review the consultation documents, and take their failings into account when making a decision about the bypass.
Photos free to use:
Above: Binsted’s Ancient Woodland at Hundred House Copse, with surrounding small fields and historic trackways – a meeting place for communities since more than a millennium ago – is at risk from Arundel Bypass Option 5A.”
Below: Sunrise over Binsted near Arundel in West Sussex, the southernmost village in the South Downs National Park. This glorious view, a rich tapestry of woodland, stream, field and hedgerow habitats, is threatened by Option 5A of the Arundel Bypass.”
For more information please contact:
Mike Tristram: 01243 551635 and 07771 897613