A NEW bridleway designed to make the Downs Link at Bramber safer is receiving wide support.
West Sussex County Council is consulting on plans to create a new route, parallel to and under the A283, to avoid crossing the busy main road.
Jon Perks, principal rights of way officer, has written to residents and landowners for comments on the £77,000 scheme, which should be returned by February 20.
He explained the Downs Link was an important strategic route, open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders. It links the North Downs Way in Surrey with the South Downs Way near Steyning, and on to Shoreham.
“In the main, the Downs Link is an off-road trail following disused railway lines and is therefore a very safe and hugely popular route, especially for families with children,” he added.
However, concern has been raised for many years over safety while crossing the A283 south of Bramber.
Mr Perks said there had been no reports of accidents or injuries, but many users had commented about ‘a feeling of insecurity’.
Children in particular had shown reluctance to use the crossing, as well as organisers of charity events and horse riders.
There are two options, a pegasus crossing and the preferred choice, a new route parallel to, and under, the A283.
The new route would pass under the bridge that carries the A283 over the River Adur, 500m south-east of the existing crossing point.
It would add about 970m to the route but it is thought the safety benefits outweigh the extra distance to travel, plus, the existing crossing point will remain open for ‘confident’ cyclists and others who wish to take a more direct route.
Part of the land is owned by the Crown Estate, which has said it will not raise objection. The track on the south side of the A283 is shared by the county council and a private landowner and both are willing to dedicate it as a bridleway.
West Sussex Local Access Forum, South Downs Local Access Forum, Steyning and District Community Partnership, Bramber Parish Council, The Ramblers, South Downs National Park Authority and West Sussex County Council are all encouraging improvement of the existing crossing facility.
A programme of works will be needed, funded through a Local Sustainable Transport Fund grant.