Midhurst Greenway plans to be postponed by a year

Work to improve Midhurst’s Jubilee Path has been postponed by a year as stakeholders look to organise a new consultation.

The scheme had been criticised when it was first unveiled in February and West Sussex County Council has decided to make alterations to the plans.

A new consultation is expected to take place in the autumn which will still coincide with the Queen’s platinum jubilee year.

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Now stakeholders including Midhurst Town Council, Midhurst Area Cycling, Midhurst Rother College, The South Pond Group and Eco Rother Action have come together to issue a joint statement to express their view that the delay will benefit the town.

WSCC unveiling of plans to expand Midhurst Greenway paths. Pic S Robards SR2202073 SUS-220702-104119001

It reads: “Eighteen years after Midhurst residents and local councillors suggested upgrading the Jubilee Path a County Council scheme is finally underway. Originally built to commemorate the Queen's Silver Jubilee, the general path has degraded over the last 45 years as its usage has increased.

"The proposals are designed to improve accessibility for all and include a controlled traffic light crossing on New Road (A286).

"Following the public exhibition of the WSCC plans in February, comments and suggestions on the design are being used to refine and improve the plans. A new consultation will now be held in the autumn with a view to construction taking place during 2023/24. The project has therefore been postponed a year, but the outcome should be worth it.

"The southern route round the pond will include long overdue traffic calming on Church Hill, SouthStreet and Chichester Road with a safe crossing at the Wharf junction. It is hoped that upgrading of the north side of the pond area, much enjoyed by families, with a new surface and proper drainage and re-surfacing the existing path can still be included in the scheme.

"Crucially, the Jubilee Path scheme will provide the first phase of the Midhurst Greenway, linking the Holmbush estate to Midhurst Rother College and Easebourne Primary School. The college has 1,200 pupils and currently almost no pupils cycle, although we are aware that there are schools in West Sussex which have around 50 % of pupils cycling to school.

"Bus transport is only provided for pupils living outside the three-mile limit which means many of the local children who live within this distance are taken to school by car. The path will provide a viable alternative to these short car journeys which add to the poor air quality in Midhurst caused by heavy traffic. Cycling to school will be a healthy option for both the children and all other people in the town.

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if plans to improve this route coincided with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee - a Jubilee Path indeed!”