A funding bid to the government’s Levelling Up Fund has been prepared and is due to be submitted.
The leisure route looks to replicate the success of Cornwall’s ‘Camel Trail’ and become a popular draw for residents and visitors.
Arundel and South Downs MP Andrew Griffith believes an ‘Arun Trail’ would have ‘enormous potential’ by opening up businesses and tourism along the whole length of the Arun Valley, broadening ways in which people can access the South Downs National Park from the coast and visa versa.
He added: “Just like Cornwall’s successful Camel Trail, which attracts more than 400,000 users a year, an Arun Trail will encourage more people to enjoy cycling and walking, attract visitors, and bring in new opportunities for young businesses and ventures that fit in with the trail such as cycle hire and maintenance, events and tourism. I am hugely excited about it.”
The proposals are due to be discussed by the council’s policy and finance committee next Thursday (June 30).
According to officers the bid is not for all of the commuter route as the overall sum would be greater than the £20million potentially available.
The project has been amended to deliver parts of the commuter route ‘where there is the greatest synergy’ with the leisure route.
The council then hopes if the bid is successful to deliver the remainder of the commuter route through a mixture of CIL funding, capital from West Sussex County Council and a bid to National Highways.
The leisure route would be along the existing footpath that runs next to the River Arun on the western bank.
A report said: “The proposed route would be a shared use path from Littlehampton to Arundel passing through and improving access to the historic countryside and attractions near the River Arun and therefore part of the proposal will include seeking to amend the status of this route to a bridleway, thereby permitting cycling.”
The project includes a new parking facility at Ford Railway Station with a cycle hub.