MP Gillian Keegan picked a bright sunny day to join cyclists for a ride along Centurion Way and hear a new suggestion to join it up to the centre of Chichester.
The southern part of the popular path linking Chichester to West Dean is scheduled to be re-routed for a southern access to Whitehouse Farm.
Friends of Centurion Way want to protect it and now John Grimshaw, who designed it in the mid 1990s, has created a design linking it right to the Market Cross in the middle of the high street.
Currently it ends near Bishop Luffa and riders have to negotiate busy roads to get to the city centre.
Mr Grimshaw said: “It’s quite simply a redesign to give more space to walkers and cyclists and a little less for motorists.
“The new southern access is a disaster because all it will do is encourage people to drive to the middle of Chichester.
“If these houses were in Holland they would never be building a great big road like this, it’s unfortunate that it’s a transport policy that won’t encourage walking and cycling.”
Mr Grimshaw’s proposal would see Centurion Way extended along Westgate, with it narrowed to traffic and parking on only one side.
It would go under an elevated southern access road from Whitehouse Farm to the A27, and lead along West Street to end at the city’s famous Cross.
Chichester MP Mrs Keegan, who joined around 20 cyclists on Friday, April 20, said: “I’m here to see the challenges and hazards riders face.
“With new developments there’s a real opportunity for better transport systems, including the A27, which prioritises cycling.”
Speaking about Mrs Keegan’s visit, Philip Maber from the Friends of Centurion Way, said: “We wanted to show Gillian how important Centurion Way is to our community and why we are campaigning to preserve and enhance the southern end of it amidst the upheaval envisaged as part of the Whitehouse Farm development.”
Centurion Way was once the Chichester to Midhurst Railway line and between Lavant and Chichester it was used for the transportation of sugar beet.
It was closed completely in 1957 and the tracks were removed in 1993.
In 1995 the southern section of Centurion Way was created from Mr Grimshaw’s design, and now the former chairman of national charity Sustrans has put together detailed proposals for extending it, following a visit this year.
To see his plans in full click here: http://www.centurionway.org.uk/concepts-proposals-enhancing-improving-path/