A DEDICATED coastal route for cyclists has been backed with nearly a million pounds.
The connection between Felpham and Littlehampton for those on two wheels and on foot is to be created alongside the northern edge of the A259. Work on the project should start in the coming year.
A bid by West Sussex County Council for £900,000 for the scheme was agreed by the Coast to Capital local economic partnership.
But the application was combined with a related one – the Beautiful Outdoors – to encourage visitors to the county.
The total funding was reduced from £1.235m to £1.2m.
Felpham resident Geoff Farell, chairman of the West Sussex Cycle Forum, said: “We welcome this cycle path without reservation.
“It will encourage cycling between Bognor and Littlehampton because it will be safer to cycle. Every bicycle is potentially one fewer car.
“Cyclists – and drivers – will benefit from the physical separation of motor vehicles and bicycles and this is something that we’d like to see much more of.
“The task now is to make sure that our new piece of cycle path is built to a high standard – and as soon as possible.”
The link would also enhance the Sustrans national cycle network route two, which would ultimately link Dover in Kent with St Austell in Cornwall, he said.
The new route will cover 4.35km between the A259’s junction with Church Lane, Climping, and its junction in Felpham with the relief road’s eastern section.
New crossing points will be provided at Church Lane, Climping, B2132/A259 Comet Corner and Worms Lane.
The Beautiful Outdoors is designed to boost tourism by focusing on the West Sussex countryside.
Mr Farrell said it was to be welcomed but the forum was worried the cost of printing leaflets and putting up signs might not be matched by the extra number of visitors.
“In our view it is far better to prioritise a superb infrastructure – high standard tracks for walking, cycling, horse riding and so on – and also to ensure fit for purpose access for the less able,” he said.
Commenting on the decisions, Ron Crank, the chief executive of Coast to Capital said: “We are delighted Coast to Capital is able to support improvements to West Sussex’s roads, rail and sustainable transport infrastructure.
“We hope these schemes will ease congestion and flooding on the county’s roads, whilst encouraging local people to use sustainable transport where feasible.”
West Sussex County Council’s leader, Louise Goldsmith, said: “We are delighted the Coast to Capital local transport body has allocated funding for these projects, which will each benefit their local communities.
“We now want to work closely with these communities in order to deliver them.”