West Sussex Cycle path used by schoolchildren is threatened over museum security fear

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THE future of a popular cycle route hangs in the balance over fears it is a security risk to a Roman museum.

Emperor Way cycle path runs through the grounds of Fishbourne Roman Palace near Chichester.

Concerns have been raised about the future of the cycle path, which could face closure by palace owners by the end of the year.

The Sussex Archaeological Society, trustees of the historic venue, says the path, which is not a public right of way, presents a security risk to the site.

Palace staff said over the last few years there has been an increase in vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the grounds, including scrap metal thefts.

But Geoff Hand, chairman of Fishbourne Parish Council, said: ‘The closure of the cycleway would be a huge amenity loss for the hundreds of people who use the Emperor Way each day, including children and young people walking or cycling to and from Fishbourne Primary School, Bishop Luffa School and Chichester College.’

Should Sussex Archaeological decide to withdraw, their preferred option would be to re-route cyclist and pedestrians along the A259 Fishbourne Road, rather than build a new route on palace grounds.

Governors at Fishbourne Primary School have expressed concern for the safety of children getting to school.

Jaane Rowehl, director of Fishbourne Roman Palace, said: ‘It’s really important that we want to work with the community on finding a solution.’

A public meeting takes place next Wednesday from 7pm at the palace.