A NEW one mile long cycle path costing £1million has been opened – although bosses admit they are unsure how many will use it.

Transport Minister and Lewes MP, Norman Baker, was on hand to open the section which runs from the Beddingham roundabout (A27) to a lay- by west of Firle.

The new path fills a gap in an exist- ing route which now runs continuously from Brighton seafront to an A27 turnoff just short of Middle Farm, six miles east of Lewes.

Although not an obvious destination, highways bosses say the end point has connections to safer routes which lead to Polegate – where the next dedicated cycle path is.

The Lewes MP joined local cyclists – albeit without a helmet – to defend the cost of the route which equates to £62,500 for every 100 metres.

He said: “The cost of the project is by no mean exceptional. That is how much these things costs.

“The route will be used for pleasure, exercise and also now as a com- muter route – with those in East Sussex able to get all the way to Lewes or Brighton.”

However, Mr Baker was unable to say how many cyclists might use the remote route.

Highways bosses say the route will mean cyclists will no longer have to compete with heavy traffic on the notoriously dangerous stretch of the A27. Martin Wright, from the Highways Agency, said: “I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t further issues but this is a big improvement.”

He added that the ultimate goal was to create a continuous cycle route from Brighton to Polegate, saying: “It wouldn’t necessarily be a dedicated cycle lane but could be achieved through road markings and signs.”

Cycling enthusiasts defended the expense.

Tony Green, from Brighton and Hove cycle group Bricycles, said: “Compared to the amount spent on the roads this is peanuts. This new route will provide health and environmental benefits for cyclists and walkers and will be used for many years to come.”

Fellow Bricycles member, Becky Reynolds, added: “I don’t think the spending is excessive at all. “The route will provide a safer, cleaner, more environmentally friendly and healthier way to get around.”