A very successful exhibition was held on Saturday 27th January in the Scouts Hut by the newly formed Friends of Centurion Way.
The exhibition coincided with the launch of a written dossier detailing all the community issues that need to be considered in relation to any proposed diversion of the path’s southern end. The new Southern Access Road needs to cross the Centurion Way, but proposed land deals and draft plans have been shared that seek to divert the path by up to 750m – which will hugely impact current users, those with limited mobility etc.
The group has been very active with a number of events on the path including a New Year’s Day “ Beating of the Bounds” community walk, counting users of the path, and is currently preparing a very large “Love your Path” Valentine’s Card to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, who will ultimately rule on any application to stop up or divert the current route, which has highway status! The Friends of Centurion Way are campaigning:-
- to prevent the path from being downgraded and to prevent any significant worsening of conditions for all users (present and future, given the new development).
- to preserve and enhance the path as a nature corridor with its feel of the old railway line, which was gifted to the community when the line closed down.
Whatever changes need to be made, the path design must be the best it can be for everyone whatever your choice of transport – walking, scooting, cycling or mobility scooter – and whatever your journey – be it in or out of Chichester and to local shops like Tescos, or striking further out to Lavant, West Dean and the South Downs National Park.
Read more about it at the group’s very informative website, http://www.centurionway.org.uk/, where the dossier can be read in full. Local resident and WRA Committee member, Julia Smith, has been very involved in the group and notes that
“Any diversion of Centurion Way should concern Westgate residents as its design should form part of the principal cycle way and pedestrian link from WHF development into /out of Chichester along Westgate. The dossier brings all of the community issues together and documents the legal status of the path, as if Centurion Way is substantially diverted or badly designed, then the connections for pedestrians and cyclists into the city will be poor and unused, traffic volumes will be even higher than feared and an opportunity will have been missed to insist upon proper infrastructure design and traffic control along Westgate.”