New ‘off-road’ route to be built in the South Downs

A new ‘off road’ route for walkers, horse-riders and cyclists is to be built at Washington.
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The route wil go between Washington village and the South Downs Way at Washington Bostal car park.

The £166,700 scheme is one of a number of community projects to bnenefit from a £1.8 million funding boost from the South Downs National Park Authority.

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The projects include other cycling and walking routes, pedestrian crossings and an inspiring initiative to help young people.

Walkers in the South DownsWalkers in the South Downs
Walkers in the South Downs

They are benefiting from a fund - the Community Infrastructure Levy - set up and administered by the park authority. Developers pay into the fund to support new local infrastructure.

Eight individual projects are set to receive a share of just over £900,000, while just over £600,000 has been earmarked to support community infrastructure projects for Hampshire County Council, West Sussex County Council and East Sussex County Council.

In addition to the £1.5m, a further £280,000 has been given to 33 parishes for their own projects.

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Community infrastructure covers a wide range of purposes, including transport, access, education, community buildings, climate change mitigation, green infrastructure such as tree planting, and recreation.

As well as the new Washington off-road route, others includee an extension of the popular Centurion Way, following the former Chichester to Midhurst railway line.

The works will create a new 5.3km multi-user path from West Dean to the South Downs Way at Cocking – giving cyclists and walkers disabled-friendly year-round access into the heart of the countryside.

The fresh levy funding comes after a previous tranche of funding, announced last January, benefited 20 projects across Sussex and Hampshire that took a share of £550,000.

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Tim Slaney, director of planning at the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “We began a new decade for the National Park by announcing some significant Community Infrastructure Levy funding and we’re pleased to be finishing 2020 with this good news.

“Good infrastructure, particularly around access, recreation and wellbeing, can make a real difference to the quality of people’s lives.

“A number of these projects will significantly improve access to the countryside, helping more people to connect with nature and reap the health and well-being benefits.

“After such a difficult year for so many people, I hope we can all agree that access to this beautiful landscape has provided great comfort and will continue to do so in the years ahead.

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“The Community Infrastructure Levy is one of the cornerstones of our role as a planning authority, ensuring benefits flow from any acceptable development. It’s wonderful to be able to help so many communities with such a varied range of projects.”