A controversial promenade cycling trial has been given the go-ahead despite fears for the safety of children walking on the seafront.

The Government has sanctioned a change in bylaws to allow cyclists on Worthing prom between Splash Point and George V Avenue from August 28.

The borough council hopes new signs will be in place by then, allowing the 12-month trial to start.

The issue has divided Worthing, with views for and against evenly split.

Critics believe the promenade should be for walkers only, and fear an accident similar to one which happened about 15 years ago when a woman pedestrian suffered brain damage in a collision.

The council was forced to pay out more than £100,000 in damages and the cycle lane between the Lido and George V Avenue was scrapped.

But cycling campaigners said far more cyclists have been killed and seriously injured on roads since then.

The council has decided on mixed use of the promenade instead of a designated lane.

Councillors also rejected calls for a speed limit, claiming it would be unenforceable.

Jim Davis, chairman of Worthing Cycle Forum and Worthing Revolutions cycling campaign group, said he was very pleased the trial was going ahead.

He said: “Obviously we now need to focus on promoting safe cycling. The whole point is to enjoy the prom and not to treat it like Manchester Velodrome.

“The problem with having a speed limit is it calls for additional signage. It is also difficult to police and enforce.

“What's needed is a campaign to make people aware that the prom is for everybody.

“The prom is there to enjoy, not to get from A to B quickly.

“I am anticipating some small conflict, primarily because it is something new, allied to the fact that people will remember the regretful incident 15 years ago.

“But we must also consider how many cycling casualties there have been on our roads.”

Mr Davis conceded that it would take only one “idiot” on a bike to ruin it for everybody and scupper the trial.

Coun John Rogers, the borough's cycling champion, said: “It is great news, something people have been waiting for for a long time.

“We have a start date of August 28 but we must first get the appropriate signage up.”

He said the trial would be monitored and a report presented to the council after a year.

Coun Rogers warned: “If people want it permanently they have got to behave themselves.”

Coun Bob Smytherman said mixed usage was a “recipe for disaster” and feared for youngsters walking into the paths of cyclists.

Will the mixed use cycle path work? Tell us what you think below.

Argus reporter Tim Ridgway filmed a ride on Brighton's controversial seafront cycle path in May this year. After riding its length, he has vowed never to set wheel on it again. Click on play below to see how he got on.