The Friends of the South Downs have expressed their concerns about plans to divert the Chichester end of the Centurion Way for the Whitehouse Farm housing development and have joined support to call on Chichester planners to protect the well used green route from permanent damage.
The Society’s Policy Officer, Steve Ankers comments ‘’ The Society shares the concerns of the Friends of Centurion Way about the threat to the path from the proposed southern access to the housing development. As well as local use, the Way is of course also an important route to and from the delights of the National Park, and we are concerned that any re-routing will damage this key asset. We will continue our support, as we did on phase 1 of Whitehouse Farm, and will raise concerns regarding the further planning applications that are to be put forward. Our Society want to retain an undamaged Centurion Way, and not just within the Park area.
A strong case has been made for the protection of Centurion Way and for the SDNPA to be involved in any future discussions (both with the developers and the councils) which affect the southern end of the route. Our focus is the conservation and enhancement of the special qualities of the National Park and its quiet enjoyment. We seek to influence planning and other decisions in this light, whether within or just outside the Park. The Society has nearly 2,000 members, including a significant presence in and around Chichester and good links to the Chichester Society’’.
Centurion Way, based on a disused railway line, is being developed as a safe off-road route for walkers and cyclists from Chichester to Midhurst and completed sections are already proving popular. Steve continues, “Centurion Way has been a great success with local people. The Park Authority is working with landowners and interested parties to extend and improve the path further north, within its boundaries. The southern end of the path falls just outside the national park, but efforts should still be made to preserve and maintain it. We urge the South Downs National Park Authority and Chichester Council to work together to conclude this sensibly, and within the best interests of everyone who uses the path, or we are in danger of badly damaging a great resource.” The South Downs Society, ‘Friends of the South Downs’ are the membership charity, working in partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority and the South Downs National Park Trust to campaign, protect and conserve the landscape of the park, so that it can be enjoyed by everyone, for future generations.