Category Archives: Planning

The Draft Southern Gateway Masterplan is flawed in not addressing the level crossing misery

The Chichester Society has submitted its response via the questionnaire to the District Council’s draft Southern Gateway Masterplan. It can be viewed here.

While supporting the general thrust of the proposals the Society feels that the Master Plan is fundamentally flawed by not providing a solution for the level crossings misery. The provision of a bus gate and the existing crossing on Stockbridge Road and a                               shallow underpass for cars on or parallel to Basin Road is a workable solution.

As regards the Strategic Environmental Assessment the Society stated that the feasibility of the Master Plan aspirations and timetable require forward planning and investment now to enable the essential infrastructure items such as drainage, moving the bus depot, moving the Royal Mail Sorting Office, and land purchase for the underpass / level crossing solution.

69 – 70 East Street – Costa

17/00747/FUL Costa 69 – 70 East Street PO19 1JX External seating.

69 – 70 East Street – Costa

Objection. A licence is required from the Highways Authority (WSCC) to block the thoroughfare. Such outside areas are inevitably subject to ‘creep’ and studs are needed to clearly mark the agreed area in agreement with WSCC. The screens surrounding the area will require separate planning permission if they include advertising. We are concerned with the effects of blocking the pavement and forcing pedestrians over the curb onto the cambered road surface, particularly for the disabled and elderly. Extra congestion on Market Days is also a concern.

The Boardwalk Northgate

17/00974/FUL 3 The Boardwalk Northgate Change of use of the existing building comprising shops and hair salon (class A1) and cafe (class A3), to form 1 no. restaurant on ground floor (class A3), 4 no. 1 bed maisonettes and 1 no. 2 bed flat (class C3) including associated access.

3 The Boardwalk Northgate

Objection. We deplore the loss of retail and office premises in central Chichester and consider that the existing use should be maintained. The proliferation of roof-lights damages the ‘look’ of this building in a prominent position, and the internal alterations will hide the historic Victorian timber roof trusses. There is serious concern that the flats and restaurant proposed would overload the waste-water treatment works, as per the correspondence from Southern Water.

150 St Pancras

17/00946/FUL and 17/00947/LBC 150 St Pancras PO19 7SH Change of use from A1 and C3 to A3 (restaurant).

150 St Pancras

Strong objection. While we would welcome the return of this important seventeenth
century building to use, we have a number of major concerns. A kitchen could not be installed without altering or removing existing historic fabric and would require an unsightly air extraction unit. There are no details of fire-escape provision from the upper floor nor of the waste disposal facilities intended. We note the apparent inconsistency in refusing an earlier planning application for a micro-brewery on this site which would have had shorter opening hours and not required airextraction equipment or alterations to the historic fabric.

The Foundry, 1 Southgate

17/01332/FUL. The Foundry, 1 Southgate, Chichester. To extend outdoor seating and create outside bar.

The Executive Committee comment that there should be no external speakers for music and that the hours of use be limited to 11 at night. We also point out that the situation on the external signage to the premises has not been regularised.

Therefore the Committee objects to this application and asks that the Council refuses permission.

71-72 East Street – Monsoon

17/01436/ADV & 17/01581/LBC. 71-72 East Street, Chichester. For Monsoon. 1 non-illuminated fascia sign and redecoration of shopfront.

71-72 East Street – Monsoon

 The Executive Committee comment that the proposal includes a drawing referring to internally illuminated lettering which must be withdrawn from the application and that the fascia must include the street number, both as required for compliance with the Council’s Guidance Note for Shopfronts in the City Conservation Area.

Therefore the Committee asks that conditions be imposed on the permission enforcing these 2 aspects.

49 – 51 Fishbourne Road East

17/01287/FUL, 49 – 51 Fishbourne Road East, Chichester. Redevelopment of Downland House HQ Offices as 38 affordable homes with associated parking, access and landscaping.

49 – 51 Fishbourne Road East

The Executive Committee while supporting the provision of affordable housing consider that this proposal is unacceptable because its 3 storey height represents overdevelopment in this location causing loss of privacy and outlook for Nos 45 and 47 and  loss of visual amenity along Fishbourne Road.

 

34 The Hornet

17/01110/FUL. 34 The Hornet, Chichester. Removal of Condition 5 on existing permission.

The Executive Committee consider that this proposal is unacceptable because there seems no justification for setting aside the principle of providing for residents’ cycle parking.

With a little imagination, much seems possible. At the moment, the site is given over to dustbins to a remarkable extent, and also of course to cars. Less space devoted to either of these could create space for cycle storage. Also, at the back of the site, there is an unused hard-standing of concrete bridging the Lavant. This could be used for cycle parking (assuming it is within the curtilage of the building, and structurally sound). Alternatively, rather than a single site for a massed row of bicycle racks, there are opportunities to park smaller numbers of cycles here and there around the complex. Another idea might be planters with cycle locking loops attached (such as the “Plantlock”). Such planters would also serve to brighten up currently rather barren corners of the site.

Therefore the Committee objects to this application and asks that the Council refuses permission.

30 East Street Ernest Jones Jewellers

17/01309/FUL, 17/01310/LBC, and 17/01311/ADV.
To alter shopfront, refit internally, and for 1 illuminated fascia sign and 1 illuminated hanging sign.

The Executive Committee considers that the proposal to illuminate the fascia and for a new illuminated hanging sign is unacceptable because it is in contravention of the Council’s Guidance Note for Shopfronts in the City Conservation Area. We also point out that the street number “30” must be incorporated on the fascia.

Therefore the Committee objects to this application and asks that the Council refuses permission.

A Vision for the City Centre – the Society’s wish-list

Society Chairman Richard Childs explains the Society’s wish-list

In March the Chichester Society responded to a consultation on the District Council’s Vision for the city centre over the next 20 years. Our response can be seen in full on the website. This article is a summary of that vision.

We feel that as the main entry points to the city centre, it is vitally important to improve the four gateways. So looking at each in turn our thoughts are as follows:

Northgate
We believe the Northgate gyratory should be abolished and an attractively designed hotel built on the footprint of Metro House. A signal-controlled pedestrian/cycle route on a line from St Paul’s Road to North Street would be of immense benefit to everyone, notably residents.

Redesign Northgate car park to provide a landscaped walkway from Oaklands Way to the Theatre, enhanced with low level bollard lighting. This walkway would be orientated and focused north towards the theatre and south to the Cathedral spire. A signal-controlled pedestrian/cycle junction is required for crossing Oaklands Way, thereby providing a popular alternative to the pedestrian tunnel.

Southgate
Again, we believe that this gyratory ought to be abolished and the northern leg made for two-way traffic. The Crown Court has enormous potential for conversion to a multi-use venue but primarily as a concert hall. The vast spaces of the bus garage would be ideal for large scale gigs. Everyone recognises the canal basin’s scope for regeneration and we support a variety of leisure uses for this location: an hotel, bars and restaurants with landscaped terraces fronting onto the canal. No structures should obscure views of the cathedral and its spire. Create a purpose-designed ‘gateway’ feature at the location of the former South Gate. Move the bus station north of the railway as part of the existing station forecourt. Is this the moment to mention the elephant in the room? The reason for increasing traffic congestion in this neighbourhood is the railway. Why not commission a feasibility-study as one element of a Southgate master plan to provide road bridges in place of the two level crossings?

Westgate
We would like to see a landscaped garden on part or all of the Orchard Street car park. This amenity would be some compensation for the anticipated loss of Westgate roundabout due to highway works associated with the Whitehouse Farm development. Nearby, the untapped potential use of the Cathedral Green can be explored. For example, create several ramps between the raised footpath and West Street – a feature that would be popular with wheelchair users. Remove the diseased lime trees over time and replant. Retain bus stops but place two heritage-type bus shelters outside former Post Office.

Eastgate
This gyratory should also be abolished. We would make St Pancras and The Needlemakers two-way. We would pedestrianise The Hornet to create a quirky shopping quarter on the lines of those in Brighton or Lewes, all of which are flourishing with small traders since pedestrianisation projects. Kwik Fit must be relocated to the city periphery and in its place developed retail space for small units from St Pancras through to The Hornet. Small retail units would fit well on the North and/or East side of the Cattle Market car park. Parts of this substantial area could become a covered market, of the kind seen in almost all French towns. Such buildings can be extremely attractive.

The City’s Night Time Economy – adding pizzazz
We would like to see the city centre become even more attractive through imaginative floodlighting. This would focus on the principal elements of the city’s urban character: buildings like the Council House, the Guildhall, St Olaves Church, former Corn Exchange, St Pancras Church and St John’s Chapel; but also historic structures such as the City Walls at Jubilee Park and Westgate Fields, or the Bell Tower & St Peter the Great, or the Gateway to Canon Lane. This city could become famous for its ‘lighting festival’ timed during the Christmas season and the Festival of Chichester in June-July.

Increasing City Centre Accommodation
Proactive policies and programmes can encourage owners of retail and office space to develop surplus accommodation, ideally for flats or small business units.

Protecting Chichester’s Special Character
Chichester’s “Special Character” owes much to its rural setting and rural features of much of this city. These aspects need greater acknowledgement and protection possibly through the medium of existing design guides. For example: hedges rather than fences, wooden street furniture rather than big-city steel and plastic. Planning policy should seek to “knit together” the street scene, without too many stand-out, statement buildings. New buildings within the city centre should aim to be quietly sympathetic rather than shouting for attention. But even where the occasional “statement building” is permitted it must be sensitive to its neighbours.

And finally, the Society would like to

  • Improve the appalling state of the city centre’s pavements.
  • Provide a high quality Tourist Information Centre in North Street under the Council Chamber with glazing in the arches.
  • Use architectural competitions for larger development sites to ensure high quality design.
  • Provide more seats in the city centre, particularly in South Street and Southgate.
  • Re-open public toilets that have been closed in recent years.

Could any of these aspirations come to fruition in years to come? While recognising the constraints, not least finance, we can hope – and indeed this is why the District Council has sponsored such a wide ranging public consultation. Hope. An important word; there’s even a website dedicated to poetry with hope!

(This article and the following comment originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of the Society’s Newsletter)

WHAT’S NEXT?

Steve Oates, CDC Economic Development Manager and Chichester Vision Project Manager, comments: “We received a strong response to our six week public consultation. Subject to any further amendments, it’s anticipated the final Vision will be adopted by Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council, Chichester City Council and Chichester BID during July. From that point the work really begins! A delivery plan and team will be formed to ensure the aspirations and ambitions set out in the Vision become reality over the next couple of decades”. 

An impression of Little London car park with a purpose built outdoor market area and open amenity space
(Image: Chichester District Council, ‘Chichester Tomorrow… A Vision for Chichester’)