THE SDNPA has granted its own planning regarding an ‘extension to the off-road recreational path known as Centurion Way, from Binderton to West Dean (circa 2,000metres)’.
Firstly, I am shocked that the SDNPA can assess its own planning; when would they refuse their own applications? How can this be best practice for any organisation?
These are my reasons why I think this application is unnecessary:
The proposed route makes no changes through the housing estate in Lavant.
A tricky part of the route for wobbly young riders.
Farmers are paid to protect wildlife areas and yet this path will cut a huge swathe through an area in which wildlife will have settled and thrived since the railway line closed. There are numerous badger setts along the old railway line which will need re-locating.
There will be no exit at West Dean and when the path eventually continues north towards Singleton it will bypass West Dean altogether as users will have to cross the A286 to visit the amazing village shop and local pub.
The proposed route means the equestrian business that currently uses a schooling paddock alongside the old railway line will be in jeopardy– the SDNPA has recognised this and has offered to fund the relocation of this schooling paddock at a cost of about £100,000! How can this be a good use of funding?
The amount and size of machinery currently using this track is far greater than is being suggested by the SDNPA. Therefore the suggested surface may not be adequate – a point the SDNPA did not take account of at the planning meeting.
At points the proposed route is simply too narrow for pedestrians/cyclists to safely pass the heavy machinery that will be using this track.
There are already two routes into West Dean from Binderton, one along the existing Centurion Way route (which would benefit greatly from money being spent on a maintenance plan) and the other route being the beautiful Monarchs Way Literacy Trail. These two routes run parallel above and below the proposed new route, I don’t feel a third route is necessary.
Most importantly, there is no proposed maintenance plan or budget allowance for one, which will mean the proposed route will become as un-passable as the current Centurion Way path.
In conclusion, I feel there are many good reasons why this path should not go ahead, and no good reasons why it should.
The work on this new route is due to start very soon and I urge you – if you feel any of my points are valid – to raise your concerns with the SDNPA. It may already be too late.