Long-awaited plans for Littlehampton to Arundel riverside cycle path back on the agenda

Arun Civic Centre, Littlehampton ENGSUS00120130418113852
Arun Civic Centre, Littlehampton ENGSUS00120130418113852

Long-debated plans for a cycle path between Littlehampton, Ford and Arundel which never came to fruition could be back on the agenda.

Councillors will discuss a report next Thursday which could pave the way for the 7km cycle link along the River Arun, nearly 20 years after the proposal was first discussed.

Discussions, which began in 1999, stalled at the time due to limited support, resources and funding but more recent county-wide strategic plans suggest a cycle path along the western edge of the river may now be more economically viable.

Arun District Council’s Littlehampton regeneration sub-committee will discuss the merits of the project next Thursday, from 6pm, after £70,000 funding was secured from West Sussex County Council to develop a report ahead of a planning application.

A report to the committee stated a ‘strategic link’ between Littlehampton and Arundel along the Arun was promoted in a 2012 study, leading to its inclusion in the district’s new local plan.

The plan aims to increase visitor spending by diversifying the district’s tourism offer.

The path is also included in the county council’s walking and cycling strategy document as an ‘aspirational inter-community leisure cycle scheme’, as well as the South Downs National Park Authority’s strategy.

In 2015, Arun commissioned a study by cycle charity, Sustrans. The committee report stated: “The findings from the study informed the council that a cycle path would be viable on the western bank of the River Arun between Littlehampton, Ford and Arundel and that a visitor attraction of this nature with three accessible nearby train stations would have an important impact on the increasing numbers of visitors to the district.”

The cycle path would improve leisure cycling in the district, create a unique attraction, reduce the effects of congestion and improve health and wellbeing for its users, the report said.

The council will be consulting with landowners, user groups, West Sussex County Council, The Environment Agency and town and parish councils in the development of their planning application.