Plans for A27 improvement at Arundel have proved divisive.
Many say a bypass is crucial to unite the town and reduce traffic issues, but others have branded the plans a ‘missed opportunity’ and ‘damaging’.
A spokesman for CPRE Sussex – part of the Campaign to Protect Rural England – said: “We think that the Arundel Bypass consultation is missed opportunity to do something really innovative and forward-thinking to reduce congestion and improve air quality.
“The proposals are highly damaging to the natural environment and the setting of the National Park and Arundel.”
“We believe there is a lack of joined up thinking by Government in respect of road policy and this is reflected in the proposals for a bypass at Arundel.
“A new big road is based on outdated practice.
“Other more cost effective options should be explored.”
Green MEP for South East England, Keith Taylor, said: “Invested in sustainable, public transport, walking and cycling alternatives, the money currently set aside for antiquated infrastructure projects could bring real and tangible benefits and improve the quality of life for people not just in Arundel but across the country.”
But Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and the South Downs, has argued a bypass is needed and thinks the majority of residents agree.
He said: “My judgement is there is very strong majority support for a bypass
Addressing some of the points raised by environmental campaigners, Mr Herbert said: “There is a very strong environmental case for a proper bypass.
“Some say that that will go through a very small section of National Park – the existing A27 goes through the National Park.”
He argued that current traffic problems mean drivers go through Houghton, Amberley and Storrington instead, causing more air pollution in those areas.
A public consultation on the proposals runs until 16 October.
Highways England is holding eight information exhibitions at venues across Arundel and Littlehampton so that people can examine the proposals and put any questions directly to the project team.
Residents can also view the plans and have a say by visiting their website: https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a27-arundel-bypass/.