Upcoming FoCW Events
We are staging several events this summer to raise awareness of development threats to Centurion Way. Anyone who can spare time to help with running events is very welcome to join us in our publicity drive to preserve and enhance the path. Please stay registered with the group as we will need your help when the time comes for the public to object to the diversion or downgrading of Centurion Way.
Sunday July 14 between 2-4pm, A Circular Heritage Walk & Quiz
On the 14th July, between 2-4pm, the Friends of Centurion Way will hold a summer celebration on Centurion Way as part of the Festival of Chichester. We will be running a heritage circular walk incorporating an interactive quiz. There will be eight interesting items to spot on the walk that should provide fun for all the family.
Participants will be able to scan QR codes attached to each item to download additional information from the FoCW website. Smart phones or other smart devices with a camera will be able to read the QR codes. You may need to install a suitable app to scan QR code. Suitable Android QR scanning apps are available here and a suitable free app for Apple devices is available here.
People lacking smart devices or technophobic smartphone owners will still be able to fully interact with the walk and quiz experience using more traditional printed paper resources with a pen or pencil. We will provide refreshments to help everyone stay cool, especially if we have hot sunny weather.
The picture above shows Ping Jiang and Sarah Sharp testing out our quiz technology on the path.
Sunday August 25 between 12-4pm, FoCW stall at the Transition Chichester Brewery Field Celebration
Transition Chichester are sponsoring a Community Open Day on Brewery Field again this year on Sunday August 25. The dray horses from Fuller’s Brewery, which proved such an attraction in 2017 will be back again offering rides to visitors. Brewery Field was once the field where the horses that pulled the brewers’ drays used to graze. It has been offered to the community for the next 10 years, providing that we make use of it.
The image above shows the Fullers Working Dray Horses at a Wimbledon Event
Besides the dray horses, Transition Chichester are planning to have a range of stalls on the field featuring local environmental groups – very relevant at the moment with the huge focus on climate change at national and international level. Although there is a serious theme, the idea is for everyone to have an enjoyable afternoon while learning a little at the same time. Our plan is to have some hands-on activities for children too.
Friends of Centurion Way are taking up a kind invitation to have a stand at this event. If 2017 is anything to go by, we’re expecting several hundred people to attend. The event will open at 12.00 and close at 4.00 pm and set-up starts at 10.00 am. Access is from the car park, thus fairly limited
Successful Fundraising and Pub Quiz Enables Installation of Counter,
Thanks to everyone who has helped fundraise, especially everyone who joined us for the quiz at the Rainbow Inn on the 14th May. It was a tremendously successfully event.
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.
Draft plans for the Southern Access Road show poor provision for cycling and walking with Centurion Way potentially losing 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 on the path, we aim to persuade local planners to provide better standards of pedestrian and cycling infrastructure that meet or exceed the Department for Transport guidelines.
West Sussex County Council 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.
West of Chichester Development Infrastructure Steering Group
Representatives of FoCW attended a steering group committee on the 17 June. Other groups such as local residents associations and ChiCycle attended the meeting joining representatives of the local authorities and the Linden – Miller developers. The focus of the meeting was the S106 highway alterations intended to cater for the increase local traffic from Phase One of the development (750 homes) on the west of Chichester that will eventually contain 1600 new homes.
A significant stumbling block in discussions is the lack of clarity about plans for building a Southern Access Road. If ever built, a Southern Access Road will likely carry the majority of motor vehicle traffic from the new development. Local Chichester residents and planning authorities originally insisted a Southern Access Road should be built at the very beginning of the first phase of the development. This was to avoid heavy increases in traffic and congestion around the city, especially when there is heavy construction traffic while house building is taking place. However, the developers argued that this condition would force up the price of land for constructing the road. Planners and developers eventually agreed on a compromise, that the road would be constructed as part of Phase Two but the work building this road should begin in parallel with the Phase One. Timelines indicate the road should first be open to construction traffic at an early stage in development and later be opened to all traffic by the delivery of the 225th dwelling. The developers Performance Plan Agreement for Phase Two of the development outlines the southern access road being opened to construction vehicles in parallel to the completion of the other highway work now being discussed by the Infrastructure Steering Group.
The original project plan and timeline from the developers has already slipped significantly and the lack of a plan or overview of road/cycling/walking changes makes it difficult to see how Centurion Way in its present form can be preserved and link into these on-road changes. Not only are there serious doubts over realistic construction dates for the Southern Access Road, but there are no agreed plans on where the road will actually be located! Members of the Infrastructure Steering Group find themselves in a bizarre situation of advising about how to modify local junctions while lacking a full understanding of the intended road network layout they are involved with designing.
As an example, the image above shows a plan for the proposed alterations to the junction between Sherborne Rd and Westgate. The arm of the roundabout marked with a large question mark could either be where the spine road for the new West of Chichester development eventually joins the city’s existing road network or it might equally well remain a quiet cul-de-sac. The local planning authorities and developers are currently failing to communicate with the community about the intended route of the Southern Access Road.
It remains to be seen if the developers can explain how the new development will integrate with the city’s existing road network. Without understanding the developers’ wider intentions for handling road traffic to/from the development, it will prove difficult to meaningfully discuss the future of Centurion Way and the pedestrian/cycle links into the city using Centurion Way and Westgate for safe, segregated access.
We are holding a FoCW meeting at the Rainbow Inn on Tuesday the 16th July to discus the outcome of the Infrastructure Steering Group and will share our comments and an update in the next newsletter. Anyone interested in preserving Centurion Way and maintaining it’s connection to the city centre, will be very welcome to attend.
Contacting Friends of Centurion Way
To keep you up to date with what’s happening concerning Centurion Way our web site www.centurionway.org.uk is updated regularly. We’re on Facebook and you can E-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please get in touch and tell your friends and colleagues to become Friends of Centurion Way supporters. We would love to hear from them.
Mark Record (On behalf of the Friends of Centurion Way)