Agenda item

A27 Arundel Bypass consultation - draft Horsham District Council response

To receive a report by the Leader of the Council.




That the consultation response to be submitted to Highways England by 24 October 2019 be approved, subject to the removal of the line on page 2: ‘Grey (Option 5BV1) and Amber (Option 4/5AV2) would also provide a beneficial outcome.


Reasons for Recommendation


i)          To take account of the issues raised in the Highways England consultation and to enable the Council to be fully transparent in our response to the proposed options.


The Deputy Leader reported that in August 2017, Highways England had published a consultation paper with six potential options for a new road bypass on the A27 around Arundel. In May 2018, Highways England published their Preferred Route Announcement, known as Option 5AV3.  This new road layout would not be located in Horsham District, but it was believed that any change to this part of the A27 would have a big impact on reducing the high number of vehicles that currently use routes through Horsham District. It would accordingly improve the poor air quality villages such as Storrington and Cowfold, where there was declared Air Quality Management Areas.


Horsham District Council was a statutory consultee and the report set out the proposed response to this consultation. It was proposed that the Council favoured the ‘Magenta option’ as this should achieve significant reductions in traffic flows and consequent enhancements to air quality in Horsham District, minimising the impact on the South Downs National Park ancient woodland, and minimising likely environmental impacts.  He went on to say that the original letter had been amended in order to remove the references to the grey and amber options, and a revised version had been circulated for consideration and approval.   The amendment was seconded by Councillor Peter Burgess.


A Member stated that the works were part of a strategic road system undertaken by Highways England, and should be regarded as such. 


A Member stated that she supported the reasons behind the council’s response regarding the use of roads through villages and the serious congestion that resulted.  Of the options, the Magenta option had significant environmental impact, massive cost and would incur significant objection and delay.  She said that there were other options available, which included the Arundel Alternative, which would have less environmental impact and cost as it used the existing road in a way that kept the traffic flowing.  A dual carriageway was not required in this location. 


A Member stated that work undertaken by the Storrington Air Quality Control Group to ban lorries from the centre of the village had made little difference to the air quality there, as there were inherent difficulties in enforcing restrictions on heavy lorries.  It was therefore important to be clear about the Council’s recommendation on this matter.  He supported the amended motion put forward by the Deputy Leader.


A Member pointed out that there had been a number of studies across Europe and the United States that showed that increasing the size of the roads was not an answer to congestion, as the traffic numbers merely grew to fill the available space.


A Member spoke in support of the amendment and pointed out that additional traffic was caused by the necessity to build houses in the district.  He supported providing signs to separate cyclists and pedestrians.


Having been moved and seconded, the amendment was put. The amendment was therefore declared as CARRIED.


Councillor Fletcher stated that during a climate emergency it was inappropriate to build an enormously expensive dual carriageway though the countryside of West Sussex and proposed an amendment to the substantive motion that read:


‘The Council requests that Highway’s England also assess the effectiveness and deliverability of the ‘Arundel Alternative’ proposal from SCATE.  The potential advantages of this proposal are a significantly reduced environmental impact, lower cost and possibly less public opposition.  As a result, it may enable a satisfactory solution to the current problems to be delivered in a shorter timescale.


We understand that the proposal is to maintain steady vehicle flow throughout this section by removing and bypassing the points which currently cause hold-ups.


From the east, this route remodels Crossbush junction removing traffic signals and continues over a new rail bridge bypassing pinch points at Warringcamp junction, the railway station, bus stops, pedestrian crossing and Causeway roundabout.  The river bridge is upgraded and Ford roundabout is remodeled to create a through road.


The proposal is for a 40mph single carriageway providing comparable capacity and very little difference in journey time compared with 70mph dual carriageway options.


Whichever option is chosen, this Council would encourage Highways England to construct any bypass and consequential bridges to the highest possible architectural standard and to take appropriate account of any potential flooding issues, given the sensitivity of the local environment.


There needs to be a strong commitment to provide for cycling and walking.  Provision along and across the SRN should be in accordance with Highways England’s own Standards for Highways, CD195, Designing for Cycle Traffic and should follow NPPF principles: to ‘give priority first to pedestrian and cycle movements’ and to ‘protect sites and routes which could be critical in developing infrastructure to widen transport choice’.


In particular we emphasise the need to

·         provide cycleways rather than shared-use footways

·         avoid any diversion or severance to existing rights of way, minor roads and paths

·         make provision for potential future walking and cycle routes by safeguarding land and by including bridges and underbridges with sufficient width for walking and cycling at potential severance locations.’


The motion was seconded by Councillor Bob Platt. Having been moved and seconded, the amendment was put. The amendment was declared LOST.


The original motion was therefore proposed by Councillor Jonathan Chowen and seconded by Councillor Paul Clarke.  Having been moved and seconded, the motion was put.


RESOLVED as follows:


That the consultation response to be submitted to Highways England by 24 October 2019 be approved, subject to the removal of the line on page 2: ‘Grey (Option 5BV1) and Amber (Option 4/5AV2) would also provide a beneficial outcome.’

Supporting documents: