Cost of Littlehampton to Arundel riverside cycle path ‘extortionate’
The cost of a riverside cycleway between Littlehampton and Arundel has been branded ‘extortionate’ by district councillors.
Arun District Council has commissioned a feasibility report into a new cycle path on the banks of the River Arun running between the two towns and also linking up to Ford Railway Station.
According to a council report the cost would be in the range of £9.8million and £15.8million with an extra £1.4million required for the connecting elements.
The high cost was what concerned members of Arun District Council’s Littlehampton regeneration sub-committee on Thursday (March 11).
Karl Roberts, Arun’s director of place, said the intention was to work the scheme up to a point so they could bid for funding from external sources when the opportunities arose.
Shaun Gunner, Conservative group leader, described the costs as ‘extortionate’ considering the route was only around four kilometres in length.
Mr Roberts acknowledged the scheme ‘did seem expensive’, but in places the embankment would need to be widened.
He said: “You could put it down the foot of the embankment but all you would have is a view of a field one way and the side of the embankment the other way and would not be able to see the river so it kind of defeats the object.”
James Walsh, leader of the council, also thought the scheme ‘seems grossly expensive’.
He said: “While I’m very supportive of cycle routes I would not be able to see capital money from Arun District Council going into this unless there was the bulk of it coming from those external funds.”
Officers explained how the current feasibility work had been funded from the business rates pool, which was allocated for developing possible new cycle routes.
It was also pointed out this scheme was being progressed because it was a policy objective in the adopted Arun Local Plan.
So far £83,000 has been spent, with the second phase of feasibility work expected to cost £62,000, which would also come from the business rates pool.
Vicky Rhodes (Con, Courtwick with Toddington) suggested they focus instead on helping West Sussex County Council improve the commuter route between the two towns following the road network instead.
Meanwhile Paul Bicknell (Con, Angmering and Findon) pointed out how there were a number of ‘unjoined and fractured’ cycle paths in Littlehampton itself which needed investing in.
Grant Roberts (Con, Arundel and Walberton) emphasised the point about getting the scheme oven ready in case new funding became available.
He said: If we would rather kill it off it’s closing down options and I would rather see options opened up and include a much, much cheaper way of doing this.”
Members agreed to note the content of the feasibility report.