Although not a shopping street, the Pallants are one of the things that people come to Chichester to see and the area is very much on the City guide route. In the 1970’s East Street and North Street were pedestrianised and much thought was given to servicing the shops in these streets. East Street was to be served from a back area leading off Cooper Street and a similar arrangement was put in place for North Street. Additionally deliveries to premises in these streets could easily be made out of shopping hours.
In general this has worked well, but in recent years two things have happened. Overtime working gave rise to deliveries out of hours and 40ft articulated lorries were not envisaged when the pedestrian area was born. As a result of this we now have a situation where these large lorries attempt to use the Pallants to service shops in East Street. A second problem is that ‘sat navs’ misdirect drivers thinking that there is a through route. This has resulted in 40ft articulated lorries having to make a three point turn or else reverse the length of North and South Pallant.
Not only is this upsetting for the residents (in some of the smaller properties there are bedroom windows on a level with the driver’s cab) but it results in considerable damage to the listed buildings in the street as well as causing damage to the historic paving, to say nothing of the inevitable damage to parked cars.
The continuing damage caused to buildings and pavements was brought to the attention of the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CCAAC). Alan Green, Chairman of the CCAAC wrote several strong letters to the leader of West Sussex Council. This produced words of sympathy but no action or solutions. As a result it was suggested that the residents might see better results if complaints came from an official body.
Subsequent discussions with Highways England led to a sign being put up to deter HGVs from entering the Pallants. This has certainly helped as lorries have been observed backing into the South Pallant Car Park to return up Old Market Avenue.