FOOTPATHS in Bramber are being improved to give better access for people using wheelchairs and prams.
The Walks For All project was given the green light after nearly three years of planning and discussions by Steyning and District Community Partnership, working with West Sussex Council.
Work has now begun to improve two existing footpaths so that young and old can gain access to the riverside and downland views.
Martin Leigh-Pollitt, chairman of the partnership, said: “Users will be able to park in The Street car park, which has reserved spaces and toilet facilities, and gain access to the footpath network to the side of St Mary’s, which leads to the Adur riverbank.
“The existing footpath is being levelled and provided with a compacted surface. The route offers a constantly changing scene with the ebb and flow of the tide and variety of wildlife against the stunning backdrop of the South Downs.”
The project began after the partnership produced a series of walks leaflets, which proved popular with both residents and visitors.
Mr Leigh-Pollitt said they then became aware that much of the countryside was denied to those using pushchairs and wheelchairs, an issue that was later highlighted by Paralympian Hanna Cockcroft in the Countryfile programme.
Walks For All has been financed through the county council, Bramber Parish Council and the South Downs National Park, and supported by councillors, access forums and the Environment Agency.
Mr Leigh-Pollitt said: “This is an example where so many local agents, with consent of landowners, have pulled together in achieving a facility which will be of benefit to a wide range of people - residents from Bramber, Upper Beeding and Steyning, walkers, visitors and tourists, those with pushchairs, wheelchairs or impaired mobility from a wide area - helping improve the health and wellbeing of all who use it.”
The last few months had seen a huge push to complete project planning, seeing the partnership working closely with Bramber Parish Council chairman Roger Potter and David Barling, county councillor for Bramber Castle.
Between them, they managed to secure funding to ensure the Edburton Contractors working on the improved Downs Link could stay on site to start the Walk for All project.
The two schemes are closely linked, providing greater security to users of the Downs Link alongside improved access to the South Downs National Park.
Mr Leigh-Pollitt said: “We are hoping that both schemes will be opened in approximately six weeks.”