Philip Maber Reports on Centurion Way Phase 2 Extension

Philip has written a report of the Centurion Way Phase 2 Extension – linking West Dean to the South Downs Way near Cocking received Planning Permission at The South Downs National Park Planning Committee on the 10th October.

Philip explains;
It was touch and go whether Permission would be Granted with several Members initially unable to support through having concerns about the 1.5 m wide length of footpath along the busy A286 at West Dean being unsuitable and dangerous. Other concerns included mobility impaired access (the West Dean steps and steep gradients on the new section) and impact on ancient woodland.
There was a long discussion culminating in Permission Granted but subject to investigation into opening West Dean Tunnel with reference to where tunnels have been opened in Bath and Bristol [many other examples], and liaison with Natural England towards obtaining a Licence through minimising the impact on the bats.

It was noted that there has to be a route that avoids the Main Road – this could be achieved either via the West Dean Tunnel or through the woods, which involved further impacting ancient woodland, steep gradients and negotiations with a mozaic of different tenants. The Policy and Resources Committee will be asked to take this forward.

Both Adam Bell and I spoke about the need for this Centurion Way Extention – we could well have influenced the Planning Committee in favour of Passing the Application.

There is a recording of the Meeting available on the SDNPA Website.

Immediately following the Meeting, Chris Sprules, Adam Bell, Cllr Henry Potter and I had a constructive conversation with Alister Linton-Crook of the SDNPA to confirm our support.

The area where Centurion Way currently finishes at West Dean and the new section of path will begin can be viewed in the snip from Bing maps shown below. The route of the old railway line can be made out as it is lined with trees.

Transition Chichester Brewery Field Event

The Friends of Centurion Way held a stall at the wonderful Brewery Field event run by Transition Chichester on Saturday the 25th August 2019.

Perhaps amazingly, there are still people in the local community that we have not heard about the threat to Centurion Way posed by development plans.

It was a hot sunny day but fortunately there was an ice cream van close by.

Community Open Day on Brewery Field
FoCW Stall at Transition Chichester Brewery Field Event
Children Playing at FoCW Stall at Transition Chichester Brewery Field Event

Friends of Centurion Way Celebrate Chichester Summer Festival on the path

On Sunday the 14th July the Friends of Centurion Way staged a Chichester Summer Festival family circular walk including an interactive quiz. The items of interest highlighted along the circular walk reflect the history, nature and wildlife surrounding this much loved shared cycleway and footpath.

The circular walk raised awareness of: Sculptures created by Richard Farrington with assistance of the children from Bishops Luffa school; Fruit trees that offer a juicy snack for anyone using the path; Vital habitats for nocturnal bats; A route along Hook Dyke which may have once been a Roman road; Shy slow-worms that live along the path; Rare chalk stream environment important to wildlife; Remnants of the Chichester to Midhurst railway line telegraph system; How to calculate the age of mature oak trees.

As well as offering a fun family quiz the Friends on Centurion Way spoke to many people about impending threats to the path posed by local development. Linden and Miller Homes intend constructing 1600 new dwellings to the immediate west of Centurion Way. Unfortunately, there remains a lack of clarity about the current plans for building the Southern Access Road which seems certain to impact upon the existing route of Centurion Way.

If ever built, the Southern Access Road will likely carry the majority of motor vehicle traffic from the new West of Chichester development. Chichester District Planing authorities previously negotiated with the housing developers to ensure that a Southern Access Road should carry construction traffic from around the delivery of the 120/125th dwelling. Early draft plans seen by the FOCW showed disappointingly poor provision for walking and cycling and also fail to meet Department for Transport guidelines.

Linden and Miller representatives have explained that they would prefer not to publicly reveal their current Southern Access Road plans as this might damage their ongoing commercial negotiations. However, our group have recently discussed planing matters with Bishop Luffa school. The school appear unaware of new negotiations taking place regarding the Southern Access Road, which seems strange considering the new road is likely run through the existing school land. Perhaps the revised plans present a radical departure from previous drawings with the new Southern Access Road joining at Clay Lane?

Whatever new transport infrastructure plans are put forward, the Friends of Centurion Way aim to ensure that our local pedestrian and cycle ways are preserved and enhanced, allowing new and existing path users to enjoy safe, confident and convenient walking and cycling in the future.

Mark Record (on behalf of the friends of centurion way)

Successful Fundraising Enables Installation of Counter

Thanks to everyone who has been helping fundraise, especially everyone who joined us for the pub quiz on the 14th May.

We know Chichester District Council planning department have an agreement with local housing developers about building a new road that threatens Centurion Way! Documents show this agreement anticipates the availability of the Southern Access Road to be open for construction vehicles around the delivery of the 120/125th dwelling.
Graphic of Counter
Draft plans for the Southern Access Road show poor provision for cycling and walking with Centurion Way potentially loosing it’s first Southern half kilometre to an inconvenient Westward diversion!

We hope that by installing a counter we can demonstrate how vital Centurion Way is to the local community. By providing evidence of the levels of traffic the path sees we hope to persuade local planners to provide better standards of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure that meet or exceed the Department for Transport guidelines.

Sustrans already have a counter at Hunters Race but it works a little like a metal detector so only sees the metal frames of bicycles. However, the soon to be installed Friends of Centurion Way counter will count all path users and show the total number of people using the path. It will sense path users wirelessly and beam the path usage data into the “cloud”. We intend to hire the device initially for six months and hope to extend this period for twelve months if funds allow.

Why not get as much fresh air and exercise as possible on the path so we can show how much people love to use Centurion Way!

Fundraising Pub Quiz on May 14

Help the Centurions safeguard this much loved walking and cycling path for future generations!

Pub Quiz Logo

  • Where: The Rainbow Inn, 56 St. Paul’s Road, Chichester, PO19 3BW
  • When: Arrive May 14: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
  • Who Join a Team or make a Team of Six.

Entry £5 per person payable in advance to include some snacks and prizes.
We are fundraising to buy counters to track pedestrian and cycling users on the southern end of the path – vital baseline data if the path is to be diverted!

Now you can buy your Pub Quiz tickets on line!

Don’t have time to send Philip a bank transfer or cheque ?
Why not click our Add to Cart button and purchase your Pub Quiz tickets through our Paypal e-commerce link!
On the right hand side of your browser screen there should be a PayPal button allowing you to conveniently to purchase tickets. You may need to scroll up and down to find it. If you are using a mobile device you may need to scroll down a long way to find the button at the bottom of the page.

Alternatively you can purchase your tickets from Philip!

Online Payments described as “Quiz” with “[Name]” together with covering email to
Friends of Centurion Way [Lloyds Bank Account] Sort: 30-96-26 Account No: 37087460;
Phone: 01243 811672
Address: Garden Copse Cottage,
Singleton, PO18 0HH


A poster to advertise the event is available Here

Family Friendly Bike Ride on Saturday 11th May

A family friendly led bike ride along the traffic-free Centurion Way on Saturday 11th May. Meet at the bottom of Centurion, near the entrance to Bishop Luffa School on Westgate at 2 pm. The ride will be at a gentle pace, stopping to look at a few interesting things along the way and is about 1½ miles in total, up to the ampitheatre where the Centurions are, near Hunters Race.

All participants will get a free cycling badge, with a prize for the best decorated bike/rider.

Spaces are limited, so book now. Click Here To Book Now!

A Poster to advertise the event is available Here

Generous Donations

FoCW have received several generous donations directly into our Bank Account – thank you!
Whilst we know the names of those who have donated from their Bank Account detail,  we still don’t know who all of you are, and do not have contact details?
We would really like to say “thank you” and keep you updated on our progress with the Counters:
If you have donated or are donating, and you are happy to share your contact details, please send an email to…..
We currently have money coming in for The Counter Fund,   The Quiz and Donations to our General Fund  – it is hugely helpful to have contact information too, please (especially for the Quiz to enable correct ticket allocation).

Easter Optimism on Centurion Way

The Chichester Post published this account of our Easter event that is available here.

On Saturday the 13th April the Friends of Centurion Way staged an Easter egg hunt in parallel with a name the bunny competition. Both young participants in the photograph won chocolate eggs and correctly picked the bunnies name. There were also beautifully iced cup cakes available for hungry path users and many cowslips were sold at only 50p each.

FoCW supporters on the path

Many passing individuals, groups and families were unaware of the looming threat to the path. This lack of public awareness came as surprise to our group since we have been vigorously campaigning for eighteen months hoping to draw maximum attention to the issues.
Our group has seen draft plans showing the removal of the entire section of Centurion Way that runs adjacent with Bishop Luffa school. These plans indicate that whole section of path will be re-routed elsewhere. The Friends of Centurion Way wish to see minimum disturbance to the paths existing route and we are eager to ensure both developers and planners adequately consult residents to ensure the maintained high quality and convenience of Centurion Way path. The 1600 home Whitehouse Farm development is destined to be the largest ever in Chichester’s history. The developers have pledged to open a new southern access road by occupation of the 225th home – and even earlier for construction traffic. It is this access road that threatens the future of Centurion Way and since the ground is already broken for construction of the new homes, it cannot be long before construction of the access road must begin.

Despite grave concerns for the future of the path, our group still see room for optimism. Many of us attended the recent 5th April County Council meeting and heard the motion on Climate Change being debated. Reducing local carbon dioxide emissions was stated as being of highest priority with particular attention being drawn to the importance of promoting and enabling walking and cycling.

Councillors Peter Catchpole (Holbrook) and Dr Kate O’Kelly (Midhurst) declared that all West Sussex housing developments must now include at their earliest stages adequate infrastructure to allow a future modal shift towards sustainable transport.

Jacquie Russell (East Grinstead South and Ashurst Wood) pledged West Sussex Counties ongoing commitment to their Walking and Cycling strategy.

Jamie Fitzjohn (Chichester South) overcame his issue with the term “humans have caused climate change” after speaking of the influence of subterranean rivers of molten iron. He concluded that humans do indeed have a climatic impact and compromised on the term to then support the motion.

West Sussex county council’s concrete committent to reducing transport driven CO2 emissions gives the Friends of Centurion Way enormous hope for the future. The Whitehouse Farm Southern access road threatens to dissect three popular cycle routes: Saltern’s Way, the Chichester to Emsworth coastal route and Centurion Way. Our local planing priorities are rapidly changing to embrace sustainable transport. We now look forward to local residents participating in constructive consultation so we can find ideal solutions to these challenging planing issues.

FoCW are organising numerous events over the coming month. To find
more details please follow the link

Mark Record (on behalf of the friends of Centurion Way)

Easter Egg Hunt on Centurion Way 13th April

Both the young participants in the photograph won chocolate eggs and correctly picked the bunnies name
Both the young participants in the photograph won chocolate eggs and correctly picked the bunnies name

The Friends of Centurion Way will be holding an Easter Egg Hunt for delicious chocolate. There will also be a “Name the Bunny event” where a lucky participant can win their own genuine Easter Bunny!

Come and join us between 2 till 4 pm on Saturday the 13th of April. We will be meeting by the railway footbridge.

Easter Centurions

Look forward to seeing all of you and your families there.

A poster for advertising the event is available Here

Mark Record (on behalf of the Friends of Centurion Way)

March Gingerbread Hares Event Sat 9th 2pm till 4pm

The Chichester Post ran a story on the Gingerbread Hares Event available to read here.

Chichester Post Photo of Gingerbread Hares

FoCW are holding an early Springtime event on the path by the Tesco footbridge to raise awareness of the continuing threat to centurion way from development. Please come lend a hand giving out leaflets and informing local people about our campaign to preserve and enhance the path. Hot drinks will be available for supporters and public alike.

We are not yet sure who will be baking the gingerbread hares. If this kind of baking is a way you would like to support this local community action, then please contact Ian Bartle so we can co-ordinate efforts.

The plan is for everyone to meet up on Saturday the 9th at 2pm and the event should run for approximately two hours.

Looking forward to meeting many of you there,

Mark Record (on behalf of the Friends of Centurion Way