Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has hailed the Government’s announcement today that the Arundel bypass will go ahead as ‘fantastic news’ for West Sussex.
The Transport Secretary has announced a £15bn package to improve England’s roads including up to £250 million of funding the new bypass on the A27, linking together the two existing dual carriageway sections of the road. Previous plans were cancelled in 2003.
The A27 Action Campaign has been pushing for the upgrades as a way of easing congestion on the route, which is currently forcing many motorists through the South Downs villages.
George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “Because the Conservatives have a long-term economic plan, we are able to invest in West Sussex and commit up to £250 million for a new dual-carriageway Arundel bypass.
“Nick Herbert has been a strong local voice, drawing my attention to the need for investment on this road.
“For years this road has suffered from neglect, but with a strong Conservative voice for Arundel and South Downs and a Government that’s fixing the economy, we are now able to commit to funding this new bypass, as well as other improvements to the A27, bringing new jobs and opportunities to the area.”
Mr Herbert added: “This is fantastic news for West Sussex. Congestion at Arundel has caused delays, forcing traffic up through this historic town and the South Downs, and damaging investment in our coastal communities.
“I am delighted that the Government has heard the strong case which we have made for a bypass which will benefit the local economy and the environment alike.
“There will be full public consultation about the bypass, so everyone will get their chance to have a say.
“However, along with all of Arundel’s elected representatives at the town, district and county council level, I continue to believe that the bypass is needed, and that an offline bypass on the previously agreed ‘pink-blue’ route is by far the best option.
“I am glad that this is the starting point for the consultation, and I do not support other proposed routes.”
According to the Department of Transport’s Feasibility Study there around 25,000 traffic movements through Arundel on the A27 every day, nearly 80 per cent of which is through traffic and not local.
Sussex Enterprise have calculated that poor transport links in the county are costing £2 billion a year, or £29,000 a year for each business.
Earlier this year Mr Herbert helped launch the A27 Action Campaign, an alliance of West Sussex MPs, businesses and local councils which has been making the case for improvements to the coastal route. The MP also invited the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to Arundel in the summer to see problems on the road for himself.
Louise Goldsmith (Con, Chichester West), leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “It is fantastic news and we’d like to thank all businesses who signed up to the campaign for their help and provided evidence through the survey and case studies.
“Now we are keen to continue working with our partners and the Government on options for addressing the key blockages at Arundel, Worthing and Lancing to achieve dualling along the A27 corridor.
“It is vital that the Government consults with the local communities – residents and businesses – on the options for those improvements.
“The county council is looking to achieve an overall balance between the needs of communities and businesses.
“This includes the future needs of the residents and businesses of West Sussex that will help ensure jobs and economic growth.
“It also includes effects on the South Downs National Park, air quality, the environment in towns and villages that are currently subject to rat running by through traffic on local routes.
“The county council is also supportive of improving public transport links.
“However for this to work successfully, improvements to the A27 trunk road have to be built first.”
Andrew Lee, director of strategy and partnerships for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “There are strong protagonists for and against these proposals and it is for the Government to take a view on whether, taking into account all social, environmental and economic factors, any or all of the schemes should go ahead. In doing this the potential impacts upon the special qualities of the South Downs National Park are a crucial issue and are our primary concern.
“The SDNPA will therefore be looking for evidence in any route options that may be brought forward in future that there are no other more sustainable transport measures which would have a lesser negative impact; robust data on the nature and scale of the impacts on the national park that would arise; and detail on how they would be mitigated or compensated for, bearing in mind that this is a nationally designated landscape.”
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