New ramp improves popular West Sussex pathway’s accessibility

"It will enable people to continue to use this popular access route safely for many years to come..."

Pictured on the replacement accessibility ramp to the popular Centurion Way pathway are, from left, West Sussex Highways Engineering Project Manager Michael Taylor, resident Julian Todd, Lavant Parish Councillor Robert Newman and local county councillor Jeremy Hunt

Release date: 28 January 2022

A replacement accessibility ramp has been built so residents and visitors can continue to enjoy the popular 5.5mile-long Centurion Way path.

The former timber ramp and step structure, originally built by a third party in the early 1990s, had deteriorated over the years, becoming unfit for purpose. This previous construction has now been replaced by the County Council with an earth embankment design, chosen for its longevity and with wheelchair users, people with restricted mobility and people with pushchairs in mind.

West Sussex Highways Engineering Project Manager Michael Taylor said: “The new ramp is wider than the original, at 2m wide compared to 1.3m, and has been constructed as one continuous shallow gradient ramp, with regular landings compared to the dog-leg layout of the original.

“The earth embankment has been seeded and will soon be covered in vegetation, blending in well with the surroundings and will require less maintenance than the alternative options, keeping future maintenance costs to a minimum.

“It will enable people to continue to use this popular access route safely for many years to come, providing pedestrians and cyclists access to the pathway from Meadow Close in Lavant.”

After consultation with arboriculturists, some trees were removed to accommodate the new structure, but new ones will be planted to off-set the loss. Lavant Parish Council is advising on the best location.

Timber from the felled trees was used to create log piles adjacent to the new ramp to support a wide range of wildlife including fungi, insects and other invertebrates, as well as small mammals and birds.

Jeremy Hunt, the local County Council Member, said: “I am delighted that with my encouragement the County Council were able to respond so quickly in replacing the old  ramp. This is a much-used access between Centurion Way and mid-Lavant, particularly for the residents of Meadow Close, and therefore it needed replacing as soon as possible.

“Unfortunately, despite constant maintenance, the original wooden access ramp was eventually condemned last September.

“I must thank our Project Manager, Mike Taylor, who, together with our contractors Landbuild, worked tirelessly to bring this project to completion in under six months – and that was despite a period when the contractors had to re-assign their team to the urgent work of getting the A285 re-opened at Duncton following an earth slippage over a culvert.

“I think all who have used this new access ramp will agree that it was worth waiting for. It fits nicely into its surroundings and – unlike its predecessor – will be around for many years to come.”

Lavant Parish Councillor Robert Newman said: “I was delighted with the quality and design of the new ramp from Meadow Close onto Centurion Way; it provides an excellent and safe transition onto the popular pedestrian path, allowing all types of users with different mobility needs, including my 17-month Grandson, a safe way down onto the path. By its universality it helps to increase the usage of this public facility.”

The Centurion Way is a 5.5mile (9km) path that runs between Chichester, Lavant and West Dean following the old, dismantled Chichester to Midhurst railway line, which closed in 1991.

It connects with the South Coast Cycle Route at Fishbourne, where cyclists can continue westwards to visit Fishbourne Roman Palace and Bosham. Northwards, the route continues to West Dean House and Gardens and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton.

More information is available on our website.

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