The rain held back on New Years Day while many people joined the Friends of Centurion Way to support Carley Sitwell’s bid to reinstate Richard Farrington’s Archway Sculpture that was originally the gateway to the start of the path.
Indeed, Richard Farrington joined us in person and he expressed his appreciation that so many people wish to see his sculpture restored.
Local residents and the Friends of Centurion Way team brought all kinds of savoury and sweet seasonal snacks. There were hot drinks and even fizzy wine to enjoy. Three different styles of cargo bikes brought the folding tables and cutlery to the event.
Please join the Friends of Centurion Way at 12:00 Mid-Day on the 1st of January by the railway footbridge adjacent to Bishop Luffa school.
We are launching an application to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to reinstate the fantastic archway sculpture originally created by Richard Farrington and installed by Sustrans, marking the Southern start of Centurion Way.
We need plenty people to attend to illustrate the strength of community support for the reinstatement of the gateway arch. We intend to capture a photograph of FoCW supporters enthusiastic backing this initiative at the New Years day event. We will take the picture at the same location where the archway sculpture originally stood when the path was opened in 1995.
We hope you can join us on new years day to help enhance and preserve the path for everyone.
Seasons Greetings on behalf of the Friends of Centurion Way,
South Downs National Park have recently announced they aim to extend Centurion Way to join with the South Downs Way by 2026. They explain:
Led by the South Downs National Park Authority working with a range of partners and landowners, the route is currently being extended from West Dean to Cocking to link up with the 100-mile long South Downs Way National Trail. This is a complex project that will take several years to complete, but it’s hoped the extension will be finished by the end of 2026.
South Downs National Park have released an update on the Centurion Way extension past West Dean. The works underway have taken much longer than expected for a number of reasons, so they won’t be able to open all of it in one go up to Cucumber Farm. The first additional section open in Spring 2024 will be the bit from Singleton Station to Cucumber Farm, which will therefore be more of use for walkers.
Carley & Louise enjoyed the experience of being interviewed by skilled media creator Clare Mansell.
Although slightly anxious about how the episode 5 will come out, we are very much looking forward to sharing it as a way to promote reinstatement of the archway.
Clare is in the process of publishing Bike Tales Season 2 which focuses on Chichester, her home city on England’s south-coast.
Clare feels it’s NOT currently a cycling city and the series will dig deep to find out what’s holding it back and meet some of the people who despite the lack of infrastructure still venture out on bikes
Thursday afternoon, 16th February 2023 one of our Facebook supporters let us know that the Arch Sculptures had been moved from its covered storage at the WSCC Depot.
We knew that we would have to move it out this spring but not quite yet! After a few desperate phone calls and an early morning site visit to the Depot, where we met with a very helpful Highways Manager. He kindly kitted us out with hi vis jackets and took us round the depot to find our missing Arch. We were quite interested to see what is stored at the depot but even more pleased to find the Arch tucked away in an old parking bay.
We urgently need to find a new storage place for the Arch sculptures while we continue fund raising and applying for grants to pay for the full restoration and installation, it doesn’t necessarily have to be undercover, but if you know of any place please message us.
Finally we would like to thank the officers from Balfour Beatty and WSCC Highways for being so helpful. Without them we would not have an Archway to restore!
The Friends of Centurion Way Committee quest to reinstate the Gateway Arch to Centurion Way has been kick started with the generous award of a grant of £2,500 by Chichester City Council. We are enormously grateful for the grant and the clear message of support from the City Council.
The first part of Centurion Way was opened in September 1995. The Gateway Arch designed and made by Richard Farrington marked the start of the Centurion Way, near to Bishop Luffa School and became a landmark, much loved by residents and visitors alike.
However, in 2015 the Archway was removed as the supporting posts had rotted causing a risk to the many users of Centurion Way. The Archway has been stored by WSCC since then but the Friends of Centurion Way are committed to reinstate the Archway and have started Fund Raising.
“We know this going to take some time but believe it is a very worthwhile project. There are so many residents and visitors who enjoy Centurion Way and with the next section which will connect to Singleton and many more houses being built we see it becoming more used. So many people enjoy the Centurion Way. It is remarkable to have such a natural and sustainable route to our magnificent countryside and the South Downs. We are all aware of the importance of access to the outdoors not only for physical wellbeing but mental wellbeing too.” said the Project Manager/Chairman of the Friends of Centurion Way.
“We have some way to go to raise the £16,000 required but this is a generous donation by Chichester City Council giving a great start and we are very grateful. We will be making more grant applications and will be launching an appeal in the Spring.” said the Chairman Ian Swann.
After several years of campaigning we successfully achieved a safer tarmac route running over the bridge by Bishop Luffa Close.
Thank you WSCC for completing this community highways scheme on Centurion Way
Images of the newly completed tarmac overbridge are shown below:
Older Update July 2022
Today, 21st July, 2022 Chichester City Council enthusiastically decided to submit the Centurion Way Community Application – Highways Scheme to WSCC. Ian Sumnall will continue to collate the community responses and then pass to Cllr Julian Joy (West of Chichester Division).
This has to be all done and dusted by 28th July.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your support for this scheme.
A long standing safety issue with Centurion Way has been exacerbated by the recent creation of a blind cycleway cross road linking into a new recreational park. The Centurion Way tarmac pathway leaves the heritage rail route and descends steeply onto, and crosses the increasingly busy pathway linking Parklands with the new Platinum Jubilee Country Park and West of Chichester Development. This is a blind crossing for those using either pathway because the bridge brickwork obscures visibility.
Many collisions involving cyclists, pedestrians and other pathway users have occurred at this location. Perhaps the most serious (involving hospitalisation with life-changing injuries) was in 2016, following which an intensive but unsuccessful campaign was launched to tarmac the over-bridge. Furthermore, some disabled users of Centurion Way cannot negotiate the steep inclines, nor go safely over the bridge in its current poor state.
Ian Sumnall is leading a campaign to solve the safety issues at this bridge. He is organising a petition demanding the local authorities install a good quality tarmac surface over the bridge. This would alleviate the need for cyclists to ride over the the blind cycle-track crossroad where people exist unexpectedly from under the bridge into the paths of cyclists.
To include your name on this petition, please email Ian: email@example.com and include “CHS” (Community Highways Scheme) in the Subject line.
Include your name and address so Ian can evidence you are a genuinely concerned resident/path-user.
It will be helpful to include written details of near misses or collisions you have experienced where the paths cross at the mouth of the bridge.
Alternatively there is a printable paper form you can use to submit your details to Ian. This will allow him to include your name in the petition. The form is available here.
Your Personal information will only be used in support of this Application to WSCC following which it will be deleted. Protecting your privacy and complying with the UK GDPR
Ian Sumnall’s original email communication with FoCW about the petition is available below the horizontal line.
Tarmac the over-bridge
Community Application to WSCC Highways Scheme for vital safety works on Centurion Way
Campaign leader: Ian Sumnal – Chichester and District Cycle Forum (CDCF)
Location: The crossing of Centurion Way with the pathway to the Country Park, at the old railway bridge near Bishop Luffa Close, Chichester, West Sussex.
The Problem: The Centurion Way tarmac pathway leaves the heritage rail route and descends steeply onto, and crosses the increasingly busy pathway linking Parklands with the new Platinum Jubilee Country Park and West of Chichester Development. This is a blind crossing for those using either pathway because the bridge brickwork obscures visibility.
Furthermore, some disabled users of Centurion Way cannot negotiate the steep inclines, nor go safely over the bridge in its current poor state.
The owner with responsibility here is West Sussex County Council Highways.
History: Many collisions involving cyclists, pedestrians and other pathway users. Perhaps the most serious (involving hospitalisation with life-changing injuries) was in 2016, following which an intensive but unsuccessful campaign was launched to tarmac the over-bridge.
That ongoing campaign involved obtaining quotes from contractors working close by and also from WSCC Approved Contractors: £12,000 at that time.
Daily conflict and near misses with unacceptable public risk. An obstruction for vulnerable users. The crossing point of two already very busy active travel routes will become busier as the local population increases and we all become ever more aware of our needs for active travel to counter the crises of climate chaos, biodiversity collapse and public health.
What is needed for WSCC to adopt our Community Highways Scheme Application?
Answer: A thousand or more local Names and Addresses in support. It is understood WSCC need verification (by providing your address) that signatories are real people from the local area or who use Centurion Way or the new Platinum Country Park, and beyond.
Also: We need your experiences of collisions and near misses and observations at this black spot, please? The more the better.
Over Thirty Four Thousand journeys were recorded on the path during the month of May 2022. However the data log shows there were malfunctions of the counter during periods of bright sunshine causing the counter to stop counting at some peak flow periods. Thirty Four Thousand journeys should be consider a low bound of path usage and the FoCW will investigate how to resolve the issue of the counter failing to record people passing during periods of intense sunlight.
On the first of April 2022 The Friends of Centurion Way people counter had registered a total of 452910 journeys being made on the path since the counter was installed on the 1st Jan 2021. The average journey distance made by people walking or cycling past the counter is bound to be at least one kilometre. The distance to the moon is only 384,400 km. FoCW believe people have walked and cycled at least 452,910 km. Ian Swann (Chair of FoCW) was first to notice, the total distance walked and cycled by people using Centurion Way that we have counted, is in total significantly greater than the distance to the moon. That’s literally an astronomical distance walked and cycled by people on the path! Although it sounds like the figure could be an April fool exaggeration, people really appear to have walked that far on Centurion Way.
The data collected from the counter in March has some error messages showing that in the middle of the day, the counter has been unable to record people going by. We had a similar problem last year in March and discovered that repositioning the counter and transmitter could be a way to solve the problem. We hope to make changes to the counter and transmitter position to remedy the issue of significant undercounting in next April’s figures.
Despite a likely significant undercount in March 2022 due to the increasingly strong sunlight in the middle part of the day interfering with the counter, the counter still registered 27797 journeys in March.
26,184 journeys were counted by the Friends of Centurion Way Path Counter this February 2022. The counter is situated where the Southern end of the path passes Bishop Luffa by the green railway foot bridge.
The image below shows a chart of the paths daily usage during February 2022:
Hourly Count Data for February 2022 is available in .csv format on this link.