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 http://centurionway.org.uk/my-calendar

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

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