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Arguments for A27 improvements. Quotes taken from the A27 debate on 13th December 2005

October 4, 2014 1 comment

Quotes taken from the A27 debate on 13th December 2005.

Peter Bottomley MP – Just in case the Minister has not been down to the A27 recently, his advisers will tell him that it is faster to go through Chichester than to use the bypass, it is sometimes faster to go through Arundel than to use the bypass, and it is probably faster to go along the coast road than along the national road in Worthing, Shoreham and Lancing.

Nick Herbert MP – The bypass that exists runs between two sides of the town, cutting off one mainly residential half from the town centre. If one travels west on the A27, having eventually escaped the congestion in Worthing, one will get on to a dual carriageway for a few precious miles, but it simply runs out at Arundel. The flyover is there, and was ready for the dual carriageway to continue, but lies moribund.

Nick Herbert MP – That has a serious impact in several respects, the first of which is congestion. Traffic flows are continually rising on the A27. In the six years between 1994 and 2000 alone, they increased by 25 per cent. Traffic flows on the A27 are three to four times more than the designed capacity of the road, which causes long tailbacks.

Nick Herbert MP – The traffic flow on the A27 through Arundel—a town of 4,200 inhabitants—was 27,000 vehicles a day in 2001. As the right hon. Member for North-West Durham (Hilary Armstrong), then a Transport Minister, said in 2000:

“Few can deny that the volume of traffic that passes through Arundel daily has an impact on the quality of life both of local residents and of those who must use this section of the A27 for their journey.”—[Official Report, Westminster Hall, 7 March 2000; Vol. 345, c. 152WH.]

Nick Herbert MP – There is also an impact on safety. The accident rate in Arundel is twice the national average for the type of road and four times the national average for dual carriageways……….. The Highways Agency estimates that off-line improvements to the A27 at Arundel would prevent 425 accidents and 580 casualties over the next 30 years.

Tim Loughton MP – The level of traffic in West Sussex over the next 10 years is predicted to increase by as much as 23 per cent. An increase of a quarter in the congestion that we already have can only lead to those roads being completely gridlocked in the next few years.

Nick Herbert MP – There is an impact in terms of local pollution and an environmental impact as traffic is pushed away from the A27, rat-running through the South Downs area of outstanding natural beauty.

Nick Herbert MP – While the economy of the south-east is strong, and the economy of West Sussex has traditionally performed well, there are significant areas of deprivation along the south coast, and pockets of long-term unemployment. Poor transport links continue to hamper economic growth and investment in those areas and along the whole south coast. It is estimated, on the basis of figures compiled by Sussex Enterprise and British Chambers of Commerce, that problems with transport infrastructure cost Sussex businesses an average of £29,000 a year. Cumulatively, that is an annual cost of £2 billion to the Sussex economy. The South East England Development Agency highlights the fact that one of the main issues facing the south-east is regeneration. It states:

“Major transport projects of regional significance for regeneration of the coastal South East include the comprehensive improvement of the A27, especially deliverable solutions for Worthing and Arundel.”

Nick Herbert MP – The Government’s house building plans will also be affected by inadequate transport infrastructure. The South East England regional assembly has proposed that West Sussex should provide 58,000 new homes over the next two decades. The Deputy Prime Minister could impose larger numbers still. As West Sussex county council points out, however,

“any further development would depend on infrastructure capacity being available, especially on the A27.”

That infrastructure is not available at the moment.

Peter Bottomley MP – I think I can speak for the other Members whose constituencies are on the A27. We all know that Arundel should be dealt with first. Worthing is important but probably comes second, along with Chichester. If that saves consultation, it probably saves a year.

Nick Herbert MP – In conclusion, I would like to ask the Minister how many times we have to make the case for a bypass and for improvements to the A27. Frankly, the economic case is unarguable and I believe that there is also a strong environmental case. We have been waiting 20 years since the bypass was first agreed by the Government. It has strong local support. Of course, there are some exceptions, but most people back it. In a MORI poll commissioned by the South East England Regional Agency last year, 82 per cent. of residents cited traffic levels in the region as an area of major concern—on a par with crime as a key issue. About 72 per cent indicated a preference for bypasses that would draw traffic around towns. If the Minister is unmoved by the local case, the impact on the regional economy should surely be of concern to him. Now is the time to end the delay and give the go-ahead to improvements to the A27 at Arundel and also at Chichester and Worthing.

Andrew Tyrie MP – I agree that the Minister is a good chap, as my hon. Friend the Member for Worthing, West (Peter Bottomley) said a moment ago, but I really do think that he is slightly off the rails now. He has said four times that the proposed road improvements are close to an area of outstanding natural beauty and that they might cause environmental damage. Surely we need some joined-up government, particularly in the Chichester area but throughout the region. Will the Minister speak to his opposite numbers and do something about the huge amount of house building that is going on, which is creating the demand on the road and generating the pressure? One lot are building the houses while the other lot are saying that we cannot improve the road because it is near an area of outstanding natural beauty.

 

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Arundel bypass – act now or lose the argument!

October 4, 2014 5 comments

I am in favour of an Arundel bypass. The problem we face in Arun District is one of economic stagnation. The main reason for this is the poor infrastructure generally and in particular the lack of an Arundel Bypass.

It is anticipated that the Chancellor will announce funding for selected road schemes in his autumn statement on December 3rd 2014. The competition for such funding is fierce. Feasibility studies are currently being carried out on a number of schemes nationally, one of which is for an Arundel bypass. Will the Arundel bypass win funding this time around?

The last time this subject was up for consideration the then Chancellor Alistair Darling turned the scheme down for ‘environmental reasons’. There can be no doubt – it was a huge success for environmental pressure groups.

Now, once again, environmental pressure groups are lobbying government to oppose a bypass at Arundel. See http://scate.org.uk/ as an example.

Those who support the need for an Arundel Bypass must also lobby government. Complacency is not an option.

Write to:

Secretary of State for Transport

Patrick McLoughlin

Department for Transport

Great Minster House

33 Horseferry Road

London

SW1P 4DR

E-mail: patrick.mcloughlin.mp@parliament.uk

Now to dispel a couple of the myths being used as arguments against an Arundel bypass:

It is inaccurate to call the proposed Arundel bypass a second bypass (which some opponents are doing). They say “why do we need a bypass when we have got one already”.

The section of A27 at Arundel is described by Ordnance Survey in some of its mapping as a bypass. In fact, this section was provided as a relief road until such time as a full bypass could be provided.

When the government announced its feasibility study into improvements to the A27 at Arundel I wrote to Ordnance Survey to ask them to review this classification.

After reviewing this classification, Ordnance Survey now confirms that this section of the A27 is a relief road and that “We have amended the text on our large scale mapping to reflect this. This amendment will be made to our other mapping scales in due course.”

Also, there are two kinds of ancient woodland, ‘ancient semi-natural’ and ‘ancient replanted’. Tortington Common (through which the pink/blue route passes – which is currently under reconsideration) is ‘ancient replanted’.

I believe that the preservation of ‘ancient semi-natural’ woodland will deservedly receive much support, including mine. However, if there is a case to preserve ‘ancient replanted’ woodland then it is a very different argument and should be made separately – and not confused with ‘ancient semi-natural’ woodland. The truth is that much of the ‘ancient semi-natural’ woodland was destroyed in the storm of 1987, and is now just conifer plantation.

Magicmap by Natural England separates ancient woodland into ‘Ancient and Semi-Natural Woodland’ and ‘Ancient Replanted Woodland’.

See http://www.natureonthemap.naturalengland.org.uk/MagicMap.aspx

Key objectives to be met by improvements to the A27 at Arundel

An Arundel bypass is crucial to the delivery of local, regional and national policies which seek the realisation of economic potential in the Sussex Coastal Sub-Region and turning around areas of deprivation in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton.

Attracting inward investment in better paid jobs calls for major improvements on the SRN and in access to it from those towns.

Key objectives are:

Removal of the cause of severance to the town of Arundel.

Removal of the source of noise and air pollution for those living close to the present line of the road.

Improvement in safety and traffic flow on the trunk road.

Freedom for the local authorities to make improvements to the local network through:

(i)            Reduction in through traffic on Ford Road, Arundel.

(ii)           greater safety and easier traffic flow on A259 and A284

(iii)          safe provision for pedestrians and cyclists on the present line of the A27 between Crossbush, the station, Town, Hospital and HavenwoodPark

Completion of the strategic road network to create conditions in which the economic potential of the district can be fully realised and major investment can be attracted.

Freedom for the local authorities to plan for sustainable transport and sustainable growth in Arun.

A substantial district-wide carbon saving to be achieved through a significant reduction in journey times.

Deter rat-running through the proposed South Downs National Park to the north and through villages to the south to avoid congestion on the A27.

Secure the economic future of our next generation.