Last year the Chichester District Council in association with The Partners of the Chichester Vision Group produced ‘Chichester Tomorrow … … A Vision For Chichester’. This was published as a consultation document inviting comments from interested parties and individuals.
In the document the Council stated that ‘The Vision will serve as a template against which to test new projects and proposals emerging for the City Centre. The Vision will guide and, where appropriate, direct future economic and planning policy for the City Centre, guide how future budgets and resources are allocated, and it will help attract inward investment‘.
The consultation ended on 19 March 2017 and The Chichester Society gave its views through its Executive Committee in a document dated 10 March and available here.
The District Council asked for views on its document outlining a vision for the future of Chichester. The Pallants Residents’ Association made up of 50 households in the Pallant roads area of the City have made their views known in a letter to Stephen Oates, Economic Development Manager.
In their extensive response they stated that ‘ We think that your proposals, almost in their entirety, are deeply flawed. We expect an invitation to further discuss matters at a later stage and to be fully consulted throughout‘.
A reconvened Planning Committee Meeting to discuss Whitehouse Farm will be held at CDC Offices, East Pallant House at 2pm on Friday 11 November. Any thoughts to put further pressure on developers for a Southern access may be fruitless as the developers Miller and Linden Homes threaten to go to appeal. In their letter (viewable here) they state ‘an appeal will be submitted if there is either further deferral or refusal of the application at committee on 11th November‘
The Chichester City Council Assembly Room was the location on the evening of Tuesday 27 September for those opposed to the Court closures to hear arguments against this plan. The meeting was chaired by Peter Budge, Mayor of Chichester, with a Panel of speakers comprising His Honour Judge Robin Barrett QC Retired Circuit Judge, Edward Cook Solicitor at Anderson Rowntree Solicitor and Vice Chair of Resolution West Sussex, Sara Fildes Solicitor and Director of Owen-Kenny Partnership and committee member of Chichester district Law Society, Edward Hand Criminal Barrister and Louise Goldsmith Leader of West Sussex County Council.
Robin Barratt opened the proceedings citing several areas of objection. First, is the significance of the removal of a system of justice from our City; this fails to understand history and he described this as a ‘sacrifice on the altar of money’. Second, is the flawed process that was followed. While the start was promising it soon became clear that the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) had the end result in mind from the start. This has resulted in West Sussex being only one of two Counties without such Courts (the other being Northumberland). Third, the judges were not properly consulted throughout. This was exemplified by an early suggestion for a combined court to alleviate the closure being subsequently rejected because ‘sadly your proposal came too late’; this despite the promise not to close the Courts until local provisions were in place. This aspect was one covered by Edward Cook who followed Robin with a detailed chronology of the process.
The logistical problems faced by those having to interact with the legal system will only increase. Edward Hand cited cases with which he has had to deal and pointed out the lack of awareness that for any one case 20 to 30 support staff (court officers, clerks, judge, barrister etc) are involved. It was understood that the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne (who sent her apologies for not being present) is an advocate of video links, but experience has shown that such links have often proved unreliable and are not adequate to deal with the many different persons involved.
Cases will take much longer to be heard, asserted Sara Fildes from her experience as a Family Solicitor. It is not unusual for a parent and children to have to travel to another area to attend court, experience delays and find that the children have to be registered in this strange area to attend schools. The lack of a local court will further extend timescales while the expected population growth in our area will exacerbate the situation further. She felt that the other courts will not be able to cope.
The formal proceedings ended with Louise Goldsmith joining with other speakers in expressing anger on the closure decision and sorrow for local residents who will be faced with the inevitable increased disruption to their lives.
A lively discussion then followed chaired by the Mayor with around 20 or so local residents making their concerns felt. The support provided by the local MP Andrew Tyrie was acknowledged and everyone was urged to write individually to him with their objections and concerns (contact details below). There was a strong case for a Judicial Review of the process and this is one route that is apparently being considered.
The absence of a representative from the Chichester District Council was noted. The view was expressed that the CDC has divided loyalties and sees the land presently occupied by the Courts as an opportunity for development as part of a Southern Gateway project rather than one to be protected for judicial use.
One speaker noted those in more rural or distant areas will be particularly badly hit as they will have to get to the transport hubs in Chichester before they can begin their journey to courts elsewhere.
The Mayor concluded the meeting by thanking all those that attended. They were invited to leave email addresses as they left so that they could be informed of any follow up actions.
Report by Bob Wiggins (Editor)
Contact details for Andrew Tyrie
House of Commons
The forthcoming September 2016 issue of the Chichester Society Newsletter includes an article by Society member Christopher Mead-Briggs entitled ‘Chichester must accommodate more housing – but how?’ In it he references the following reports which can be viewed by clicking on their titles:
They can be read on screen but the best way to read the second report is to print it out because of the size of the font and the illustrative material.
Notes on the Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns Report
1. The report was written by Lord March and Terence O’Rourke MBE in March 2015 and followed an appreciation of the forecast growth of Chichester and its planned expansion. This led to a much wider review of the impact on other similar cities and towns.
2. It makes key recommendations in a succinct and readable form in a booklet of just 6 pages.
3. It followed the publication in October 2014 of a very detailed report of 178 pages produced by Richard Bate and others for English Heritage entitled “The Sustainable Growth of Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns”. That report is on the English Heritage web here.
Notes on the Cathedral Cities in Peril Report
(This pdf file presents on-screen in a sideways format which requires use of a right click of the mouse when positioned over the text of the report. Choose “rotate” to turn the text clockwise – it requires three clicks to complete the rotation.)
1. This report is an important core document written by the leading architectural practice of Foster + Partners jointly with Terence O’Rourke MBE and runs to 59 pages. It outlines the need to provide good quality housing to meet the needs of a fast growing population and recognises the attraction of our historic towns as places to live and work. They explain that the challenge will be to provide for that growth in such high quality locations without damage to their intrinsic character. It was published in March 2015.
2. The authors have considered the similarities that the English historic towns possess, many having medieval city walls, narrow streets and a large number of listed buildings. They stress the need to encourage local councils to accommodate high quality design combining constructive conservation, regeneration and infill, and the use of compulsory purchase powers where necessary to combine old with new. They suggest connecting fragmented areas lying outside the core with good public transport. They encourage community led schemes.
3. Four Cathedral Cities are considered in some detail and are compared with four cities in Europe. Conclusions are reached and then tested using Kings Lynn as the example.
4. Their six recommendations appear at the end of the report and should be read across the pages because each refers to three issues: a) the supporting national framework for each recommendation, b) the implementation barriers and c) the proposed changes to policy.
‘There are sound and clear cut reasons for refusing planning permission in the absence of any commitment to provide the Southern Access Road prior to the development of the site‘ so state The Chichester Society and the East Broyle, Parklands, Westgate and Orchard Street/Old Somerstown Residents Associations in a joint submission to the Local Council.
They further state ‘In the absence of any commitment to the provision of the Southern Access to the Via Ravenna roundabout and not to Westgate to be in place before construction of the houses in Phase 1 the application 14/04301 should be refused’.
In this BBC Radio 4 point of view broadcast on 10 June Roger Scruton addresses how we should prioritise beauty when building the countryside – Beauty in my back yard (BIMBY) not NIMBY. To listen to it click here.
BIMBY arises from the Prince’s Foundation and comprises a Toolkit with a series of workshops that guides a community through creating a BIMBY Housing Manual for their own area.
The toolkit has 3 workshops to help a community decide what it wants as a community. The outcome of the toolkit is a series of standards for developers to follow in the form of a Housing Manual. There is also guidance on how to get the Manual adopted as part of the formal planning process.
Proposals: Outline planning application with all matters reserved (except for access) for the first phase of development for up to 750 homes with access from Old Broyle Road, temporary access from Clay Lane, a local centre (with associated employment, retail and community uses), primary school, informal and formal open space (including a Country Park), playing pitches, associated landscaping, utilities and drainage infrastructure with on site foul sewage package treatment plant or pumping station with connection to Tangmere Waste Water Treatment Works.
Society response: A very short period of time was given for a response to be made to the Planning Application CC/14/04301/OUT. In our initial response (click here) Chairman Richard Childs objects to the failure adequately to consult and considers that this Masterplan must be revised to create a southern access route from the start of Phase 1 so that construction traffic can be directed from Cathedral Way roundabout direct to the new development. A more formal response is being prepared.
Meanwhile – The Council invite observations on the above application by 7 June 2016. To view the application click on the application number above.
Albion Water are planning a waste water treatment plant for developers Linden Homes and Miller Homes at Whitehouse Farm, Chichester, West Sussex. The Environmental Agency has consulted on the environmental permit application ref EPR/SB3338AD/A001 and the Chichester Society has, through its Chairman, raised several objections as detailed in a letter than can be consulted here.