Arundel Town Council voted to support an A27 bypass at a lively meeting last night.
But in a break from years of support for Option 3, councillors voted to back the controversial Option 5A – the ‘Binsted Route’.
Councillor James Stewart kicked off the debate at Arundel Town Hall: “Arundel as a rural historical market town and contemporary tourist destination deserves a proper bypass.
“This would benefit the local economy, reduce accidents and reduce pollution.”
Mr Stewart said he believed Option 1 – a widening of the existing A27 – is ‘universally rejected’.
He argued Option 5A would have ‘significantly less impact on the South Downs National Park’.
He added: “From the parish meeting on September 25 the majority of people were in favour of a bypass and most of those spoke for Option 5A.”
However councillor Lucy Ashworth pointed out that although many people spoke for Option 5A ‘that does not necessarily mean that is what the town actually wants’.
Vocal anti-bypass campaigner councillor Kay Wagland said: “We are talking about what we want Arundel to be like.
“Do we want our uniqueness, historic landscape and rich wildlife or do we want American style suburbanisation – big roads and housing estates where people to drive away from town to shops and services elsewhere?”
But councillor Michael Tu argued that there was a strong case for an offline bypass.
He said: “The reason why the Government have identified this bottleneck is for the economy of the South East of England.”
Councillor Tu pointed out that if the Arun Local Plan is approved – including the target of 1,000 new homes every year – traffic on the A27 would increase.
He described Option 1 as a ‘nightmare’ that would make Arundel a ‘no-go zone’ for three years while it was being constructed.
But councillor Sunil Patel said none of the three options set out by Highways England are appropriate.
He said: “I do not think Highways England has considered enough the issues at stake.
“I do not believe that they are considering the whole of South East in looking at the business case for this very small section.
“We should do something but none of the above.”
After the debate councillors voted to support Option 5A by majority verdict.
The consultation on the A27 at Arundel runs until Monday, October 16 and can be viewed here.
Got an opinion on the A27 at Arundel? Perhaps you drive through Worthing or Chichester regularly and want changes made there?