LETTER: Do not despoil our countryside

A lot of lies are told about the Arundel bypass. One is that those now campaigning to protect Binsted were somehow responsible for Tortington Common, where the Arundel bypass was proposed to go in the 1990s, being included in the South Downs National Park.

This is repeated in the letter from Roger Everitt (October 19). The truth is that Tortington Common and Binsted woods met the criteria for the National Park and were included in the draft boundary in 2002 (except for the outlying copses of Binsted Woods).

When the South Coast Multi Modal Study (SOCOMMS) the same year recommended the bypass across Tortington Common (the present Option 3) should go ahead, Tortington Common was then taken out of the draft National Park.

In 2003, Alistair Darling cancelled the Arundel bypass because of the beauty of the watermeadows. So Tortington Common was put back into the draft National Park by the Variation Order of 2004. This was confirmed in the 2006 final boundary decision. Binsted residents and the ABNC campaign had nothing to do with any of these decisions.

It was the intrinsic quality of Tortington Common which led to its inclusion in the National Park. It may be easier to support or shrug off the destruction of Binsted village by proposed bypass Option 5A if you think it is somehow ‘our fault’.

But it isn’t. In fact, bypass plans may have influenced the boundary at Binsted and Tortington causing countryside to be left out that met the criteria.

The initial boundary consultants for the Countryside Agency (2001) said the whole area ‘from Walberton to the river Arun’, i.e. Binsted and Tortington south of the woods, met the National Park criteria.

Why was a tighter boundary then drafted leaving out those areas?

Possibly to leave room for a bypass very much like the present 5A, being looked at by SOCOMMS in 2002.

A small addition to the draft National Park boundary was accepted at Binsted in 2006 – including the left-out parts of Binsted Woods - so that now Options 3 and 5A are both within the National Park.

The right conclusion to draw is that this is fantastic countryside, protected by being in a National Park, which should not be despoiled by a new bypass.

Emma Tristram

Stable Cottage