Magenta was the colour at Arun District Council when members decided which option they preferred for the long-awaited Arundel bypass.
The bypass saga has crawled along for more than 30 years but took a massive stride towards its final chapter at a special meeting of the full council on Thursday evening (October 10).
The magenta route was the clear winner by 31 votes to five, with three abstentions. Of the others, only the crimson route got any support, receiving five votes.
Leader Dr James Walsh said:
“We’re one huge step closer to having it delivered in two or three years’ time which will benefit the residents of Arundel, benefit residents of the whole of the Arun district and improve the south coast trunk road for millions of motorists every year.”
The magenta 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.
Not everyone shared Dr Walsh’s enthusiasm.
The Binsted Village social media page called the decision ‘the murder of a village’, adding that councillors had ‘backed the destruction of a community they are meant to represent’.
The council will now work with West Sussex County Council, Arundel Town Council, Walberton Parish Council, Lyminster and Crossbush Parish Council and the South Downs National Park Authority to prepare a Local Impact Statement.
Highways England’s consultation into the plans ends on October 24.
After the vote, Dr Walsh thanked members for ‘a very rational, well-reasoned and good-natured’ debate.
“I’m delighted. We’ve got a clear statement of view from Arun district elected representatives, which is splendid news and I think it really does bring forward the likely delivery of the Arundel bypass within the next two or three years.”
The crimson option had been largely supported by independent members who felt it would cause the least damage to communities and wildlife habitats.
Dr Walsh told them:
“We will do our best in the design stage.
“That line is not absolutely fixed.
“There’s a design stage on the junctions, a design stage on the wildlife corridors.
“All of you can make representations at that stage to improve things around Walburton, Binsted, across the Arun valley to actually make sure not only that it’s going to work as a bypass, but it scenically and environmentally works as well.”
(By Karen Dunn – Local Democracy Reporter)