The Way Forward - and the New Purple Route
An announcement of the Preferred Route as 5A was made on 11 May 2018. It will be fought every step of the way.
Two Judicial Reviews have been accepted by the Court and will be heard on 27-29 November 2018.
- The South Downs National Park Authority met on 24 May and decided to challenge Highways England's decision by Judicial Review, after hearing widespread support for a challenge from the National Park community. Their 3-minute speeches against 5A can be heard on this link. (The first speech relates to A27 east of Lewes but also contains points, eg about the importance of the setting of the Park, relevant to 5A.) We understand that the SDNPA's ask is for the Preferred Route decision to be annulled and for the Consultation to be re-run compliant with the National Parks major developments test and other planning law including full investigation of impacts and detailed consultation on options less damaging to the Park.
- Dr Emma Tristram, a local resident and campaigner for the local environment, also sought a judicial review based on the errors and misinformation which had skewed the public consultation towards Option 5A. Emma's ask is for the Preferred Route decision to be annulled and for the Consultation to be re-run without misinformation and spin, and taking full account of the correct traffic, ecological, landscape and other information.
The 2017 Consultation will now be re-run in 2019
On 12 October, Highways England issued a Press Release: "Arundel Bypass - further consultation next spring". They have conceded so far as to re-run the consultation, but they have not withdrawn the Preferred Route decision for 5A, so, the JR hearings are expected to proceed. Their statement falls short in other ways: eg they only mention the same options 1,3,5A, and they mention modifications to the information on options 1 and 3 but not on 5A which is where the grossest misinformation occurred.
- We will fight the Statutory Consultation - if Highways England carry one out. This stage has, oddlly, disappeared from their timeline.
- We will fight the Development Consent Order.
- We will object to the Planning Inspectorate.
- We will appeal to the public.
- We will object to the Secretary of State.
But long before we have got there Highways England will, we believe, be forced to recognize that 5A would cost way over the £250M budget. Alan Feist has said, "if that happens, we are in uncharted territory" - in other words back to the drawing board, which of course is where the National Park Authority has told them they need to go now anyway.
So what's the Alternative?
SCATE, the South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment, have a better strategy. This is set out in 'A New Transport Vision for the South Coast'.
Arundel group ArundelSCATE, and The Arundel A27 Forum , have asked for the New Purple Route to be considered.
This solution would free up the blockages and stop the tailbacks. It can do this without taking business away from Arundel and without wrecking the National Park and Arun Valley countryside, or destroying tranquil ancient village landscapes. And the cost of this Route would be less than half that of Option 5A.
Click here to read about it and see plans: www.arundela27forum.org.uk .
This route was excluded from the 2017 Public Consultation because the wording for Arundel, in Highways England's remit from the Department of Transport, referred to 'dual carriageway'. But that brief was itself illegitimate and challengeable for two reasons:
- It failed the test that all government bodies must 'have regard to' the National Park. (Note that the South Downs Society, being the local National Park Society, is a member of the Arundel A27 Forum.)
- The dual-solutions-only limitation was unfair and irrational because no such limitation to Highways England's remit was made in the case of Worthing, which has greater problems with delays than Arundel
The New Purple Route
As proposed by Arundel resident Philip Gadsby, ArundelSCATE, the Forum and SCATE.
A27 at Arundel
The A27 at Arundel moved in 1972 from running through the town, West down Tarrant Street and East up Maltravers Street to the Arundel Relief Road, running between the Ford Road Roundabout and the Causeway Roundabout across the flood plain.
The 1960s design of the Arundel Relief Road cannot really be considered as fit for purpose in 2015, when the maximum weight of Lorries etc. has materially increased.
Arundel on either side of it has a dual carriageway, ending at Crossbush where a half completed junction causes traffic jams and to the west of the town the dual carriageway ends at the Arundel Arboretum.
Facts about the A27 at Arundel
There are 5 pinch points on the A27 at Arundel: -
- Crossbush Traffic Lights
- Railway Bridge
- Pedestrian Controlled Traffic Lights
- Causeway Roundabout
- Ford Road Roundabout
If traffic slows down or stops for any one of these pinch points then traffic backs up along the relief road. This being said no one can recall having a problem going up the hills out of town either side of the valley, to Crossbush or up Hospital Hill unless there has been an accident or there are road works.
There is a lack of flow for the traffic at Arundel, it does not seem to be a capacity issue.
The relief road has a number of roads and other access points on it the Road to Burpham, the road to Crossbush, the Beefeater restaurant at Crossbush, the Batworth Park retirement home, Arundel Railway Station and Travis Perkins Builders Merchant and the houses on the Causeway. These junctions can and do impede the smooth flow of traffic, as well as having been the cause of a number of accidents.
The wider West Sussex A27 constraints
The A27 is not a engineered as a strategic Trunk Route with Grade Separated Junctions through much of West Sussex, there are three small stretches engineered as such, the Hampshire Border to the west of Chichester some 6.5 miles, the east of Chichester to Boxgrove just over 2 miles, from Crossbush to the west of Worthing nearly 5.5 miles, there are some grade junctions in this stretch. The remaining A27 through West Sussex a distance of some 33 miles is a combination of dual carriageway with grade junctions and single carriageway road though Worthing and at the Arundel relief road.
Whilst the Multi Modal Study suggested in the early 2000’s that the A27 could be made a dual carriageway throughout the county, this included tunnels under Worthing at a cost estimated to be over £1bn and major investments in alternative transport measures, such as a Littlehampton Parkway Railway Station.
There are now plans to spend £350m on Arundel, Worthing and the road to Lewes and £69m on the Chichester Bypass. The resources allocated to this project come nowhere near those that would deliver a grade separated Trunk Route through the County.
Since the Multi Modal Study the shape of the county has changed: -
- Business has changed thanks to the investment in communications infrastructure, Broadband and mobile digital communications.
- The transport network has also changed in the local area, with the Felpham and North Bersted relief roads being built and the prospect of a Lyminster bypass.
- Major housing developments have been undertaken or are planned in North Littlehampton and the five villages.
- The one time planned Ford Eco Town is no more.
- The industrial base has also changed with the Bognor LEC Refrigeration plant having closed and becoming a Sainsbury’s
There has been no Business Case put forward to show a positive return for building an Arundel Bypass at the cost of up to £250m.
What does Arundel and the County Need?
There is a requirement as is shown in many studies for a reliable road transport link along the South Coast, Arundel is seen as a place where journeys can be disrupted, although not as badly as at Chichester or Worthing.
Building a grade separated bypass across the Arun Valley and through the woods at Tortington would only mean that traffic went from the Fontwell Roundabouts to the west of Worthing a couple of minutes faster.
Arundel people make a lot about the fact that the A27 divides the older town centre from the more populace part of the Town to the South of the A27, it is unclear if this is a real divide.
Access to the Railway Station is achieved by crossing the A27 at the pedestrian controlled traffic lights, not the most convenient arrangement with some heavy Lorries passing.
Access to and from Batworth Park, the Burpham Road etc can be challenging.
An offline Bypass would not help the commercial organisations in the town if one is to look at what has happened to towns that have been bypassed on the Folkestone to Honiton Trunk Route such as Dorchester and Bridport.
The area near the Causeway Roundabout is one of the more heavily polluted by vehicle emissions locations in West Sussex, due to the stop start nature of the traffic there.
An adjusted Purple Route
One of the initial options for the Arundel Bypass was the Purple Route. This route took the road through the Crossbush Roundabout, over the railway line on a new bridge to the south of the Station, then followed the contour of the ground down to the join the present relief road just short of the Ford Road Roundabout.
The route then went on to go up Hospital Hill as a dual carriageway, through the Town Cricket Ground and round the back of the White Swan pub and then through the cottages to the north of the present A27, before joining the dual carriageway by the Arboretum.
The proposal is to build an adjusted Purple Route.
Fully develop the grade separated junction at Crossbush, thus eliminating the traffic lights, except possibly at peak hours. This would enable westbound traffic to leave the A27 for Arundel or Littlehampton at this junction as well as enabling traffic to join the A27 going either way.
Build a new bridge over the railway line close to where the present footbridge is, at this point the road would be reducing from a dual carriageway to a twin lane (5m) road. The new road would then join up with the present relief road just before the junction with Fitzalan Road, then progress to the Ford Road Roundabout.
The route up Chichester Road/ Hospital Hill is normally not seen as a bottleneck, people only seem to see queuing traffic there when someone is trying to turn right into the Community Hospital. The option of making the carriageways on Hospital Hill 5m wide should be investigated to help the flow of the traffic, there may well be room to do this on the South side of the Road through the Canada Gardens area has never been developed.
Why 5m wide carriageways? It is recognised that the present relief road system is a bottleneck, the AADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic) volume at Arundel was in 2013 over 15,300, this is above the level for a normally accepted limit for a single carriageway (S2) road of 13,000, the limit for a 5m wide single carriageway road (WS2) is 21,000, this should give some headroom for growth.
Advantages of this route
- It keeps the road close to the town so people realise how beautiful it is.
- There is only one choke point in Arundel, the Ford Road Roundabout, with clear roads at all the exits of the roundabout there will not be the present congestion.
- It makes it easier to get to and from the station.
- It reduces pollution in the area.
- Access to local villages such as Burpham is improved dramatically.
- The ancient Arundel railway bridge is no longer a weak link in the country’s road network.
- The pedestrian controlled traffic lights on the A27 will no longer be stopping traffic and causing tailbacks through the Arun Valley.
- It is far cheaper than the proposed Pink and Blue Route.
- There is no loss of housing or woodland.
- It slows down the traffic slightly on the A27 that will keep the flow steady through the corridor.
- No loss of visual amenity in the Arun Valley.
- A pedestrian bridge from near the bottom of Canada Road over Chichester Road and then over the A284 to Park Place/ Mount Pleasant, would facilitate communication in the town and make it safer for children to walk to and from the schools in London Road and Jarvis Road.
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