RESIDENTS have gathered to protest against a controversial bypass route.

People living in Arundel and the villages of Tortington, Binsted and Walberton gathered at St Mary’s church, Binsted, to protest against the newly announced proposed A27 route.

The grey route, which would mean the road avoids the South Downs National Park, was chosen by Highways England despite receiving only seven per cent of support.

It is the most expensive of the five proposed routes and is expected to cost more than £250 million.

More than 50 people demonstrated with banners at the 12th century church in a bid to halt the plans.

Rita Godfrey, of the South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (Scate) said the Arundel Alternative route would be a better solution.

She said: “It offers a much shorter and less damaging section of new, wide single carriageway, south of Arundel Station.

“The Arundel Alternative is designed to ease congestion and minimise environmental damage, while being affordable.

“Highways England wants to build a road, raising carbon emissions when we know we just can’t do this in a climate crisis and can’t afford it financially.”

More than 1,600 people attended the 2019 consultation exhibitions, with Highway England receiving 4,945 response forms as well as 113 other written responses.

Starting at Crossbush, the new route will reconnect with the existing A27 in the west near the A27 and A29 Fontwell (east) roundabout.

Akos Hudak and his family were just about to move into their newly built home where the route was announced.

He said: “The 175 home development was under way long before any suggestion of a grey route.

“We are devastated.

“Highways England told us it is possible they will want land from us to accommodate machines and even compulsorily purchase our land and house to destroy it.”

Five of the six options for the A27 near Arundel would have involved building roads in the South Downs National Park but the new preferred route will go south of the park.

Announcing the route earlier this month, a spokesman for Highways England said: “The plans include a new five-mile dual carriageway which will draw traffic away from Arundel and reduce rat-running on minor roads through the national park.

“The new bypass will complete a missing link in the A27, the only major east to west route south of the M25, and avoids the South Downs national park completely.”