POLITICIANS are throwing their weight behind a campaign to save a “popular and safe” crossing used by thousands of cyclists, walkers and horse riders every week.

The Sussex Pad A27 crossing is at risk of being closed as a result of the proposed Ikea development at New Monks Farm in Lancing.

New Marks Farm Development, a subsidiary of Brighton and Hove Albion, also plan to build 600 homes on the site.

The crossing would be replaced with one of two alternatives but both “involve diversions and significant delays for users” according to a letter written by Hove and Portslade MP Peter Kyle to the Department for Transport (DfT).

He wrote that “the standard of these alternatives is also questionable with a proposed new bridleway being less than two metres wide in many places”.

Chris Todd, from Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth, said the group has been successful in securing cross-party support to retain or improve the existing crossing, which is used by club cyclists, group rides and cycle events.

Mr Todd said MP for East Worthing and Shoreham Tim Loughton had spoken to Jesse Norman, DfT Parliamentary under secretary. Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown, have also given their support.

Mr Todd said: “There is a lot of misinformation about the crossing, such as that it is unsafe, or difficult to cross.

“In fact, there have been no pedestrian injuries and only two cyclist injuries in the last 20 years.”

Mr Kyle said: “At a time when we are trying to get more people healthy, open up more of our countryside to cyclists, are concerned about air quality and are trying to improve road safety, I feel that the crossing issue is very important to get right.”

The decision on whether the development will go ahead was deferred in July.

It is going back to Adur District Council’s planning committee on October 3.

Mr Todd thinks it is unlikely a full reassessment and reappraisal of the scheme has taken place since the last meeting.

He added: “The Government has recently changed national planning policy to prioritise walking and cycling, and I don’t think Adur District Council can hand on heart say they’ve had time to look at the scheme with that in mind, so we think next week’s meeting is premature.

“There are also question marks over congestion, flooding and pollution around the site.”