John Grimshaw (the original architect of the Centurion Way Path) has produced a workbook of plans showing details of Centurion Way, its links, potential developments and enhancements from linking to the South Downs National Park all the way to the City Centre.
Friends of Centurion Way are very excited by some updated concepts and ideas that John has included in this workbook. We are particularly grateful for his continuing contribution towards improving and enhancing the community asset that he originally designed. On Monday 9th April 2018 members of Friends of Centurion Way discussed changes to the pathway with local Council representatives at a public Community Affairs meeting. Councillors expressed interest in seeing John’s plans and including them in future discussions about the Whitehouse Farm Development and Southern Access Road, to facilitate not delay any aspects of the develoment. We are delighted that the concepts in John’s workbook may be taken into consideration when planning the future of the pathway and are keen that is used as a bold example of the sorts of ideas that the developers could be considering, compared to the draft plans shared to date.
This workbook is not a detailed solution, but is a useful illustration of how Centurion Way could be better designed to:-
- Better link access to Centurion Way from the the Whitehouse Farm development and east/west across Centurion Way
- Link up with other cycle routes over the railway bridge to Fishbourne without the need for a road crossing (as at present)
- Preserve and enhance Centurion Way by keeping cars and pedestrians/cyclists segregated as Centurion Way joins the new Southern Access Road (route as yet unknown) for the safety of all users, especially schoolchildren, the elderly or those with mobility issues
- Provide a safe and attractive link to the City Centre along Westgate, that will encourage present and future residents of Chichester out of their cars for short journeys and reduce traffic congestion,
- Enhance not downgrade the wonderful cycle/pedestrian link from the city to the Downs for leisure, recreation and tourism.
There is much detail that could be developed in these plans, for example the precise routing of the cycle path into the City along Westgate, and how this fits with wider traffic flow and parking considerations for residents. We know local residents are seeking the route of the Southern Access Road directly into the College roundabout avoiding the residential areas and the Sherborne Road roundabout. The workbook is bold thinking but its ideas could provide the chance to enhance and improve sustainable transport within Chichester and be a massive win-win for the city. With more funds, these concepts and ideas could be properly developed and Friends of Centurion Way are looking at the costs of this.
Why this matters?
The new housing development at Whitehouse Farm makes Centurion Way more relevant than ever and improvements to the pathway offer a highly desirable and cost effective solution to the increasing congestion in the city. John Grimshaw’s enhancements to the pathway could also offer Chichester’s best chance of encouraging existing and new residents in the west of Chichester to minimise their driving for short journeys and help constructively integrate new inhabitants into our existing city community. A safe and easy transport link between Whitehouse Farm and the city centre, suitable for young cyclists, families with pushchairs and elderly citizens with mobility scooters, would bring significant improvements to the community, our health and quality of life.
Neglecting the needs of both new and existing pathway users would bring about an unfortunate decline in people’s enjoyment of their local environment. Although many of the city’s new residents are likely to be motorists, it is neither desirable nor practical for journeys between new housing and the town centre to be made exclusively using private motor vehicles. At present there is neither adequate car parking provision nor roadway capacity in the city for this extra traffic. Reliance on private motor cars as a city transport solution will isolate and exclude many community groups who could use Centurion Way for easy access. Groups particularly at risk of exclusion include elderly pedestrians, young people and children who could easily walk or cycle, disabled people with assisted mobility and residents, who are happy to use environmentally responsible transport for leisure and commuting.
Friends of Centurion Way sincerely hope John Grimshaw’s insightful ideas will be explored and developed if changes need to be made to Centurion Way and its link to the city centre.