The official opening of the Bognor Regis to Littlehampton shared pedestrian and cycle path has been welcomed by West Sussex Cycle Forum – with a plea for even more people to use it.
Costing £2million, the 4.5km-long direct route is already proving popular with pedestrians and cyclists and was officially opened with the cutting of a green ribbon (in-keeping with the green/sustainable transport theme) by county council Leader Louise Goldsmith today (Thursday).
West Sussex Cycle Forum chairman Geoff Farrell said: “At last – a way to cycle safely between Felpham and Littlehampton!
“The main reason why people say ‘I’d like to ride a bike – but I won’t’ is because cycling is not seen as safe. Separating bikes from vehicles is the only truly safe way.
“The new path will encourage people to get riding – the benefits for the individual and society are huge. That’s why we ALL need many more miles of cycle paths separated from traffic, such as this new path, with its lovely, smooth surface. Finally, a plea to everyone – use it!”
Louise Goldsmith said: “I am delighted to see another cycle route open and for all to use. Such paths are great for visitors to the area and this is a perfect link between Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. We can all benefit from such cycle routes in so many ways and I am very grateful to our partners for their collaboration to make this scheme a reality.”
Bob Lanzer, county council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, added: “This new, shared path brings with it numerous benefits, including helping the environment and boosting the local economy by making it easier for commuters and visitors to get to the two towns on foot, or by cycle or mobility scooter.
“We would like to thank road users for their patience while the work was ongoing. Now, we hope both residents and visitors will enjoy the result, which has added significance as it forms part of National Cycle Route 2.”
The new path runs alongside the A259 and was funded by the county council and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.
Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital, said: “Improving transport links has been identified as a priority in our newly-published Strategic Economic Plan – Gatwick 360 – and we are delighted to see this scheme come to fruition which will benefit residents and visitors alike.”
Rupert Chitty, Regional Director of contractor Jackson Civil Engineering, said: “The shared pedestrian path and cycleway between Bognor Regis and Littlehampton has been a pleasure to deliver on behalf of West Sussex County Council.
“The patience of the stakeholders and the road users has been greatly appreciated and what we have now is a shared path that will bring huge health and wellbeing improvements to so many people. We are delighted to have worked on this scheme.”
During the construction, Jackson staff visited a local school to address an assembly about construction site safety and the company also donated a wooden bench for cyclists and walkers at the Flansham end of the route.
Guests and other VIPs at Thursday’s official launch included Arun District Council chairman Alan Gammon, and Chris Sprules and John Coote from Sustrans – the sustainable transport charity that promotes the National Cycle Network.
Staff from the county council’s Bikeability team provided free, cycle safety checks in a cordoned-off area at the Oyster Catcher pub and restaurant’s car park in Climping, adjacent to the new path.