‘Dead bodies’ littered the steps of County Hall when campaigners descended on West Sussex County Council to protest plans for a bypass at Arundel.
The newly formed Green Alliance held a die-in to urge councillors not to support any of the six routes put forward in the Highways England consultation for improvements to the A27.
The alliance was made up of Extinction Rebellion, the Green Party, Arundel South Coast Alliance on Transport and the Environment, Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee, and Tortington Local Community.
Matilda Tristram, from the ABNC, said: “All six options that have been put forward would be severely damaging to communities and the environment.
“One route in particular – magenta route – would absolutely devastate two villages, Tortington and Binsted.”
The council’s draft response to the consultation was to support the magenta route in line with both Arun District Council and Arundel Town Council.
The route would see around 4.4 miles (7.3km) of new dual carriageway to the south of the existing A27, from the Crossbush junction to just west of Yapton Lane.
It would include a new bridge over Binsted Rife, with around 3.7miles (6.1km) of the existing A27 being detrunked – downgraded.
Any hopes campaigners had that members of the environment, communities and fire select committee would vote against the draft response were dashed – though the decision was by no means unanimous.
After the meeting, Emma Tristram, secretary of the Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee, said: “Roman roads were notable for striding through the countryside in a straight line, completely ignoring local features such as Celtic fields.
“The magenta route would trample over the surrounding villages and countryside in a similarly brutal manner.”
Ms Tristram said up to 20 homes in Binsted would be compulsorily purchased if the magenta route went ahead.
She added: “The heart of the village would be gone and its strong community would be dispersed and destroyed.
“Magenta would decapitate Tortington village and turn Walberton and Slindon into a rat-runs. It would cut across and severely damage a fantastic area for wildlife.
“At a time when the whole world is facing a climate and biodiversity crisis, this brutal and destructive route should not be built and will not be built.
“It will be fought by all possible means.’
The consultation closes on Thursday (October 24).
Once all consultation responses have been analysed by Highways England, a preferred route will be announced in 2020.