Campaigners for Centurion Way are said to be pleased with the outcome of a meeting held on Tuesday.
Friends of Centurion Way met with the chief executive of Chichester District Council, head of planning and their senior environmental protection officer.
The meeting was arranged after delivery of a dossier produced by Friends of Centurion Way to over 90 key decision-makers involved in the planning decisions relating to White House Farm and the new Southern Access Road.
Campaigners were keen to make clear that they do not object to the development nor the relief road, but are holding out for the best possible outcome for all the many users of the path.
The group are concerned that the new road will lead to a downgrading of the path and worse conditions for people who walk and cycle. They were joined by John Grimshaw, the original designer of the path and founder of Sustrans, who visited the path for a second time to support the group in their fight to improve the path.
As no planning application has been presented for the road, the council were unable to comment on specifics but they did offer the group the chance for another meeting with one of the officers so that the long list of concerns the group have can be properly looked at.
City councillor Sarah Sharp said “We are pleased that we will be having this opportunity to put our concerns forward. We will also be seeking a meeting with Vectos, the consultants who drew up the draft plans. We know what a good design could look like.
“We are hugely privileged to have the support and advice of John Grimshaw, one of the leading cycle infrastructure designers in the country. We are championing better outcomes for people who walk and cycle.
“We need this development to work for the future residents and for Chichester as a whole. The current plans make driving the easiest option for the new residents. With a downgrading of our the county’s flagship cycle path and no direct and segregated cycle ways for the new residents that follow the desire line, the result for our city will be increased congestion and pollution.
“We hope to be working with John to put together our own designs for the beginning part of Westgate. We know that the county’s role will be to consider whether the plans are safe and whether the design ticks the boxes in the outdated Design Manual for Roads and Bridges.
“We are asking for more than the minimum safety standards to be adhered to. With John’s help we can provide excellent design that puts people on bikes and foot first.
“We don’t want the path to lose its rural and linear feel. We don’t want the path to become a white line painted alongside a busy road. We know what great design could look like and Chichester should hold out for the best.
“We need to make the most of this tremendous opportunity for Chichester District Council and all the councillors to champion the path, support the community in its fight for the preservation and enhancement of this huge asset we all treasure and enjoy.”