VIDEO AND PICTURES: Hundreds join Binsted A27 rally

Hundreds of people joined a Save Binsted rally in a huge show of force against a potential new A27 route through the village and ancient countryside.

Among two bypass options being looked at by Highways England in its £250m Arundel scheme is Option 5A - called the 'Binsted Route'.

Save Binsted protest and walk

Save Binsted protest and walk

Villagers and environmental campaigners are hugely opposed to its construction, part of which is through the national park, and they gathered to chant 'No Option 5A' on Sunday.

Addressing more than 400 people who turned out for the protest, Mike Tristram from the Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee said: "We are all here to show we want to protect a very special place called Binsted.

"Why are there all these posters saying 'foul play on 5A'?...They (Highways) researched the route badly and they presented it in a false light to their consultees."

After hearing Mr Tristram speak, most of the participants took part in a walk through the countryside to where the proposed road would go.

Save Binsted protest and walk

Save Binsted protest and walk

The route has been marked out and a giant seven-metre high scaffolding tower has been erected to show the height the raised road will sit in the national park.

As well as Option 5A, another bypass, Option 3 (the old pink-blue route), is also on the table, part of which also goes through woodland.

Option 3 is backed publicly by MP Nick Herbert but many environmental groups are also opposed to it.

Kia Trainon from CPRE said: "I'm here today because I'm hugely concerned about the damaging proposals for the Arundel bypass.

Save Binsted protest and walk

Save Binsted protest and walk

"I think the impact on the landscape and the Arun Valley and the South Downs National Park are very severe, we know it's going to take a big chunk of ancient woodland and it will go through the heart of the historic village.

"We're also very concerned about Option 3, again going through the countryside, through ancient woodland. We think both these proposals are hugely damaging and should both be dropped."

Only last week West Sussex County Council formally backed Option 5A, and other groups also support it, though parish councils are among those strongly against it.

Many fear Option 5A is Highways' favoured route of the three - the final option, Option 1, which would see alterations to the current route.

Save Binsted protest and walk

Save Binsted protest and walk

Tony Whitbread said it was time for a 'proper access transport strategy' to improve the entire A27 stretch, including investing in public transport, cycling and walking.

"We've been here many times before, ten years ago, 20 years ago...the same routes get brought up time and again, they get re-examined in the same way time after time, and always they are extremely environmentally damaging and the benefits they are supposed to bring simply aren't there."

The Arundel A27 consultation finishes on October 16. To take part click here: https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a27-arundel-bypass/

Save Binsted protest and walk

Save Binsted protest and walk

Save Binsted protest and walk

Save Binsted protest and walk

Binsted A27 protest

Binsted A27 protest