A27 bypass to ‘sever’ ancient woodlands from Arundel?

Julie, 62, and Tony Upson, 63, on their woodland land in Tortington
Julie, 62, and Tony Upson, 63, on their woodland land in Tortington

Worried residents have raised concerns an A27 bypass at Arundel will ‘sever’ an area of ancient woodland from the town.

Responding to an article in last week’s Gazette about the future of the A27, readers expressed fears that one bypass option will harm a historic community.

An ancient yew tree on Julie and Tony's land, estimated to be 450 years old

An ancient yew tree on Julie and Tony's land, estimated to be 450 years old

The ‘pink-blue’ route, which Arundel mayor councillor James Stewart says is Arundel Town Council’s current preferred option, would go through Tortington Common, an area of woodland west of Arundel.

Mr Stewart said last week: “It is the shortest route requiring the minimum amount of new road. It does not go through any villages and does not go through ancient woodland.”

However John Henderson, 66, who lives in Tortington Lane, has warned that the parish of Tortington lies ‘slap bang in the path’ of the route, which will ‘sever’ it from Arundel.

“Tortington is still very much a part of this ancient landscape and we deserve some acknowledgement,” John, a retired prison librarian, added.

Julie and Tony Upson, who own a small piece of woodland in the path of the route, sought to clarify that the Common is classified as ‘ancient woodland’.

“The value of ancient woodland cannot be underestimated,” they said in a statement.

“It is arguably this country’s most important natural carbon sink after peat bog lands.

“Digging up such a carbon store to create more roads will release tons of stored carbon, not to mention the carbon cost of the construction process itself.

“Surely improvements to an existing road are more cost-effective environmentally as well as financially?”

Julie and Tony have invited Mr Stewart to visit them and see the woodland for himself.

Mr Stewart sought to clarify his comment, saying the council’s preferred route only goes through ‘replanted’ ancient woodland.