Valentines Love your Path Event February the 9th

A story of the event has now been published in the Chichester Post

The Friends of Centurion Way held a Valentines Love your Path event on Saturday February the 9th and for a cold mid February day the path was especially busy. We handed out lots of leaflets to passers by highlighting the development threats to the southern end of the path. We also made people hot drinks to help warm their hearts. We met many happy but slightly muddy youngsters enjoying vigorous healthy exercise with their families and shared some delicious heart shaped biscuits with them to help boost their energy.

Valentine Event on the path

At least one family brought bicycles, fixed to a bike roof rack from Bognor Regis so they could enjoy a bike ride together. Centurion Way is such a wonderful shared footpath cycle-way leading into the beautiful South Downs that people are willing to travel a long way to visit this environment where they can cycle safely. There are now plans to extend the path further North to Cocking but it is already a great ride up from Chichester to West Dean where the local store offers excellent toasted sandwiches, pastries and coffee. A handy tip for any tourists wanting to cycle Centurion Way is the excellent local bike shop in Fishbourne http://www.barreg.co.uk/ who do very reasonable bike or tandem hire. They are only a short walk from Fishbourne station.

Sarah Sharp (Chichester’s green city councillor) joined our event and explained the importance of extending wider cycle and pedestrian provision to match Centurion Way all across West Sussex. She is passionate that community access to centurion way is not impeded by local development and said it is vital that local people demonstrate their commitment to maintaining the path as a community asset. She and Philip Maber certainly matched words to action by filling two large bags with all manner of nasty rubbish which they gathered from along the path. It was just as well they bought a little antibacterial hand-wash. If we could gather more support like theirs we could soon have a cycle network to rival the Dutch National Cycle Network where 26% of all trips in the Netherlands are now made by bicycle. (source https://www.eesc.europa.eu/glossaries/glossary/european-cycling-lexicon/page/some-cycling-statistics & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_the_Netherlands)

We believe the heritage and naturalised route of CW along the old Railway Line to Midhurst is very special. If you agree that we should conserve and actually enhance the safe, family friendly access to not only Centurion Way, but also to Fishbourne and Chichester Harbour (including Salterns Way), and into Chichester City Centre, then please consider joining the Friends of Centurion Way http://www.centurionway.org.uk/sign-up-form/

Sarah and Philip collected several bags of rubbish from the path

Sarah and Philip collected several bags of rubbish from the path

Photo from Chichester Post
Photo from Chichester Post story

Wildlife on the Path

The Friends of centurion way are interested in researching the biodiversity of the path. Records of which could help the achieve path classification as a wildlife corridor? Philip Maber has invested in a miniaturised infrared wildlife camera that will occasional be located where animal tracks can be seen by day, so we can discover what goes there by night.

We have photographed a fox already.

Fox first appeared early on Sunday morning
Fox first appeared early on Sunday morning at around 2:30 am 27th Jan 2019
Fox Came back at around 6:45 am
Fox Came back at around 6:45 am Sunday morning 27th Jan

We also caught a shaggy dog having a good sniff around after the fox had visited

Hopefully we will discover a variety of wildlife that follow our path while we are sleaping.

Linden Miller Public Exhibition of Plans 31st Jan 3pm – 7.30pm Baptist Church, 124 Sherborne Road

On the 31st January between 3pm and 7.30 Linden and Miller homes will be presenting plans for their “Reserved matters proposals for two residential applications (circa 160 homes) and sports pitches”. We recommend anyone interested in the planning of the new development attends. For full details of the event you may go to the developers information page here.

Unfortunately the plans are sparse on detail showing any provision for pedestrians, people using prams, cyclists, or mobility scooters. There will be detail showing a short (approximately 250 meter) northern section of the proposed developments spine road. It is shown joining a roundabout off the Old Broyle Rd. The north-western side of the spine road section will carry a combined footpath and cycleway. However the plans don’t give indication of how non motor-vehicle traffic should negotiate the roundabout when new residents wish to visit existing parts of the city. No indication of pedestrian crossings are shown on the plans on what is likely to become a busy road as the estate nears completion.

The plans will outline a boardwalk path that travels roughly north-north-east/south-south-west through a section of proposed green corridor. This section looks appealing for pleasure walks but appears unsuitable for prams cyclists, or mobility scooter users. This path joins Newlands Lane which could then be used to access Centurion Way if pedestrians don’t mind walking a huge zig zag route. It might make an appealing route for a leisure walk onto centurion way.

Miller and Linden homes exhibition Thursday 31st January 2019 plans are available from their website here

Whitehouse Farm Developers Community Liaison Meeting

The Liaison meeting discussed the area outlined in the image below.

area discussed

Many of the people who attended the meeting appeared frustrated that so little detail of the wider developments road layout was shown or explained.

An important point was established regarding access for people onto Centurion Way. It was agreed that the park area is not intended (and will in fact not be suitable) for cycle, pram or mobility scooter access. This is because all access to it is via sprung gates. The main purpose of this area appears to be for dog walking and the sprung gates are presumably to prevent disobedient dogs running away from their owners.

The boardwalk pathway through the green corridor area was described as a potential cycle route by the Linden Miller representatives. However this statement appears to have been made in error as close inspection of the plan shows a narrow and tightly curved pathway that would be unsafe to use as a cycle way.

The only access to dwellings currently shown on the plans, available to cycle, pram or mobility scooter users wanting to reach existing parts of the city, would be by negotiating a new roundabout off the Old Broyle Rd. Personally I would find cycling around such a roundabout an intimidating prospect at night or during rush hour. I don’t think I would attempt to negotiate this route if I had a pram or mobility scooter. Pedestrians from the new dwellings will have an alternative route to follow into existing parts of the city and onto Centurion Way via the green corridor boardwalk pathway. However this route would be particularly convoluted following a huge zig zag course. There was no indication of new access ways directly onto Centurion Way that new residents could use to enjoy our path.

The Linden Miller representatives stated that the cycleway along the spur road would have priority over traffic wishing to turn onto the adjoining streets. I find it difficult to imagine this being be a safe arrangement and I would personally lack the confidence to use such a pathway myself as a cyclist. It seems likely this unusual right of way for cyclists would not be recognised by motorists potentially leading to death or injury to a cyclists. From a motorists point of view I would also feel anxious about this arrangement. If many people are using the pavement it would be extremely difficult for a motorist to distinguish a cyclist about to cross a junction. It is also unclear how cars would approach a junction during times of heavy traffic. Would cars wait at the road junctions 3 meters from the road to allow cyclists to freely pass. I consider myself pro cyclist but I can’t imagine I could practically drive in such a way during pressured rush hour traffic. My gut feeling is that the cycle provision outlined in the plans falls a long way short of the standard of safety provided for cyclists by Centurion Way. I will ask Linden Miller representatives for precise details to how the junctions will be laid out so we can better understand how the various forms of traffic using the spur road will avoid conflict.

Mark Record

Can you provide Biodiversity Records so we can have Centurion Way Classified as a Wildlife Corridor?

Sarah Hughes is the Community Wildlife Officer for Chichester District Council. She has contacted Sarah Sharp (our Green City Councillor) to ask if she knows local people who can give information about types of animals that use ‘Wildlife Corridors’ in the Chichester area.

If path users can report what wildlife is seen on Centurion Way (or the land immediately surrounding it), then we may be able to have the path classified as a ‘Wildlife Corridor’. Obtaining this classification for the path will certainly help in our campaign to protect the path from development threats.

Sarah Hughes gave the following explanation:

Chichester District Council are consulting on the new and not-yet adopted ‘Wildlife Corridor’ policy and we would like to ask for your support with three requests:-

1) Can you help with providing biodiversity records that will help us further improve the evidence base for the wildlife corridors (even if you have recently submitted them to the SxBRC or other biological groups)?

2) Can you record further biodiversity on these vital wildlife corridors? We will need the data before summer 2019 in order for the evidence to be in time for the plan’s submission to the independent examiner.

3) Can you support our proposed wildlife corridor via the consultation portal.

The evidence paper for the Wildlife Corridor policy is at http://www.chichester.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=31016 please read this first

The consultation portal is at https://chichester.jdi-consult.net/localplan/ you will need to register first in order to make a comment, then please see https://chichester.jdi-consult.net/localplan/readdoc.php?docid=6&chapter=6&docelemid=d105#d105 which is the link direct to the consultation page on Policy S30 (Strategic Wildlife corridors)

Beating the Bounds on New Years Day

We had an article reporting on our event printed in the Chichester Post on the 4th January

Annual beating of the bounds in city

Below is short photo diary of the FoCW Beating the bounds event on New Years Day 2019

Beating The Bounds on New Years Day
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 1

The cargo trike easily hauled  a stove and plenty of ingredients for hot drinks.

Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 3
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 2
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 4
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 3
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 5
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 4
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 6
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 5
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day 6
Beating The Bounds on New Years Day image 5

So many people were out on the path it was difficult for the group to stand still on the path long enough to take their photos.

Weather Set Fine for Beating the Bounds Event

Hope every one has enjoyed a good Christmas.

The Met Office are predicting good (dry) weather for our Beating the Bounds event (far better than the weather for our Christmas Event on the 15th Dec).

There is a warning level 1 for UV exposure because there could be a tiny amount of sunshine between the cloud!!!

Forecast for 1st Jan 2019
Forecast for 1st Jan 2019

I recommend bringing warm gloves and a hat as the temp is only predicted to be between 6 and 9 °C

We are meeting up by the footbridge by Bishop Luffa school at 11 am on New Years Day.

Be sure to remember and remind ourselves, we must get a good group photo for a press release before we all set off.

We should have hot drinks available at the Amphitheater too (where the railwaymen sculptures are).

Looking forward to seeing you all on New Years Day,

(on behalf of the FoCW) Mark Record

A Winter Washout

The Friends of Centurion Way had planed to stage a fun Christmas event on the path on the 15th of Dec between 2pm & 4pm.

Originally, we intended to warm seasonal refreshments on a portable stove and to encourage local path users to decorate lanterns to hang on the trees which are under threat if the path is diverted by the developers of White House Farm project.

On the morning prior to the event, the weather was particularly uninviting. There was cold icy rain alternately followed by waves of windy driving rain. I emailed people who might be coming and explained the MET office radar image of approaching rain predicted even worse weather to arrive shortly to coincide with our the event.

A Very Wet Christmas Event

Despite effectively cancelling the event with the email about dire weather, I thought I should check supporters of FoCW were not getting cold and lonely at the end of the path. This is easy for me to do since I only live a few hundred meters from the end of the path. When I arrived Bill and Sarah Sharp were already there merrily setting up umbrellas stored in their cargo trike.

We spoke to a friendly photographer from the Chichester Post who arrived at first on the roadway inside Bishop Luffa school. For much of our conversation with him he remained inside his car, talking to us from the other side of the fence. He had already been out much of the day photographing other events and looked slightly concerned with the waterlogged state of his camera equipment.

He took some quick photographs to document the event and then immediately put his camera away in it’s water proof case. The Chichester post have published a story of the event that gives a supportive angle on our campaign.

I was surprised we even had a group of three FoCW supporters while the photographer was there. However, just after the Chichester Post journalist had left, Julia Smith arrived too, joining us with Nero (her dog). Together we handed out leaflets to people using the path, some of whom were not aware that it is under treat.

Lets hope we have dryer weather for our New Years day Beating the Bounds event on the 1st Jan 2019. We will be starting from the railway footbridge by Bishop Luffa school, we will meet at 11.00 am.

Seasons Greetings and a Happy New Year (on behalf of all the Friends of Centurion Way).

Mark Record

New Years Beating the Bounds of Centurion Way Event

Hopefully, all FoCW supporters will enjoy indulging in delicious food and drink over this festive season but by the time New Year comes around most of us are desperate for some healthy fresh air and exercise.

The FoCW Beating the Bounds event is the perfect remedy to over-indulgence and inactivity over the Christmas break, so why not join us?

Starting from the railway footbridge by Bishop Luffa school, we will meet at 11.00 am on 1st January 2019. Bring a bicycle or just walk if you prefer. You can go as far as you like or merely take a short winter stroll.

Unfortunately, Sarah and Bill Sharp can’t join us this year but Sarah’s emblematic Big Green cargo trike should still be ferrying refreshment (hot drinks) up to the amphitheatre.

This is now an annual tradition for FoCW supporters.

FoCW Beating The Bounds Jan 2018

The photo above is from the Chichester Post report on last years FoCW Beating the bounds event and the original story is still available here.

You can from the picture that the air was very “fresh” last year with soft drizzly rain.

Hope to see you there this year and keep your figures crossed for dryer weather.

If people wish to advertise the event a poster is available here.

Seasons Greetings on behalf of the FoCW,

Mark Record

Plans are now published to take Centurion Way from West Dean to Cocking

Alister Linton-Crook who is the Cycling Project Officer for the South Downs National Park Authority, has informed us on behalf of National Park Authority that:

“We are pleased to announce the submission of the planning application for the next section of Centurion Way which is an important step towards the realisation of this much desired project.”

The application Ref: SDNP/18/05920/FUL can be viewed and comments submitted via the link below:

https://planningpublicaccess.southdowns.gov.uk/online-applications/

If you approve of the extension of Centurion Way from West Dean to Cocking, why not register your approval officially?

From the planing application details available on line you may click on the comments tab and then follow the “login to make a comment” link.

A quick reference copy of the plan overview is available for convenience here but it is best to refer the government source directly for any important communications.

On behalf of the FoCW,

Mark Record