Benefits from developing South West of Chichester

John Templeton explains why your Society supports these proposals

Although the Local Plan for Chichester District was adopted in 2015 the Government has instructed it must be reviewed to address the ‘Objectively Assessed Need’ for yet more housing. Last winter Chichester District Council (CDC) consulted on revisions to the Local Plan that included a new Strategic Site Allocation for greenfield land south west of Stockbridge, between the Chichester bypass and Chichester Harbour. This has set alarm bells ringing loudly!

The Council’s proposal is to develop about 85 hectares of which around 35 hectares would be for employment uses, plus at least 100 new homes and a country park. Also included is a new road link from the A27 Fishbourne (aka Tesco) roundabout to the A286 Birdham Road, south of Stockbridge. The plan below shows an outline route for this road based on a transport study by Peter Brett Associates commissioned by CDC.

To the surprise of some of our members the Society supported this proposal. Whilst we have long argued that priority for new housing should be on brownfield land within the city itself we can see many benefits that could arise from this new proposal, and which we outline below.

Link road benefits

Firstly, a link road to Stockbridge would not only serve the new developments but would provide an additional link to the towns and villages on the Manhood Peninsular and at the same time reduce congestion and pollution at Stockbridge and the dangerous rat-run of Apuldram Lane.

View across fields from the public footpath east of Apuldram Lane towards the city, some of which could become a country park. Photo: John Templeton

Understanding landscape

Some 15 years ago CDC commissioned a major landscape strategy of all potential development land surrounding the city. It was published in 2005 as The Future Growth of Chichester: Landscape and Visual Amenity Considerations. Areas assessed around the city included fields west of Stockbridge near to Chichester Harbour. Land close to Stockbridge was found to be of poor quality with gappy hedgerows and no views of the cathedral or of the Downs. But to the west, medieval field boundaries still existed with mature trees and hedgerows forming part of the rural setting of both the city and the hamlet of Apuldram, with distant views of the cathedral spire and the Downs beyond.

Rural gap benefits

It is therefore essential that a new link road, well screened with trees and hedgerows, must form the western limit to any extension to Stockbridge, with land to the west retained as a rural gap between the city and the harbour. It should be carefully landscaped as meadows, indeed maybe water meadows because much of it is in a flood-risk area, with the meandering river Lavant (when it flows!) contributing to the proposed wildlife corridor between the Harbour and the Downs. At present the only access to this land is a poorly defined public footpath between the city and the harbour, with a footbridge over the railway to Terminus Road and a highly dangerous crossing of the dual carriageway A27 bypass. This is the shortest walk from the city to the sea, but please don’t risk your life even wearing a high-viz jacket! This route should be upgraded as a footpath/ cycleway with a pedestrian bridge over the bypass, also connecting to the new development (a case for Section 106 Planning gain?).

A new link road to and from Stockbridge would reduce the present excessive use of Apuldram Lane Photo: John Templeton

Housing and employment benefits

As for the development itself, the most obvious location for housing would be towards the southern end, close to Stockbridge to benefit from the shops and community facilities already there, as well as the quarter hour bus service along the Birdham Road. Further north, towards the A27, well designed employment development could take place, which would attract new firms to the city. Creating new employment north of Stockbridge would also enable vacant or underused sites on the city’s industrial estates at Terminus Road and Quarry Lane to be reallocated for much needed affordable housing within walking distance of the city centre.

Agreeing a master plan

Unlike other major greenfield developments underway which could provide no benefits to the existing city, this new proposal for south west Chichester if properly planned will have major benefits. It is however essential that the community is involved in the drawing up of an agreed master plan and that this is adhered to as the development progresses. The devil will be is in the detail!

(This article originally appeared in the September 2019 edition of the Society’s Newsletter)

Chichester’s Southern Gateway – an update

Robin Hamilton updates readers about the Gateway+ development campaign

This is an update on the Gateway + campaign to offer a dynamic alternative to the Southern Gateway proposal by Chichester District Council (CDC). We see the Gateway+ proposal more as a development of the CDC initiative rather than an alternative. The recognition of the need to develop the southern part of Chichester is in no doubt. It is how this opportunity should be grasped is where we differ.

Please support this initative – we welcome comments added to this post
How we came this far

 You may well have seen our previous articles aboutGateway + but in case you didn’t, here is a short synopsisof the history of Gateway+. Early in 2018 a small groupof local residents met to discuss the recently publishedproposals for the Southern Gateway. They felt that CDC’sproposals did not go nearly far enough consideringthis is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do somethingin Chichester that will be a lasting memory of ourgeneration. After some research into what residents andbusinesses would like to happen in this part of Chichesterthe group organised a presentation in Pallant HouseGallery in June last year. The reception by those who attended, and the general public since then, has beenvery encouraging – particularly from the younger peopleof Chichester!

Outline plans

Since then the Gateway+ proposals have been honed to the outline plans we have today.

Revised layout for the Forum development as proposed by Gateway+. Note that all facilities are within easy walking distance of
each other, the Station and other forms of public transport

In summary, we propose a development that would create an Exhibition/ Conference Hall of 100,000 square feet. This would be capable of holding medium sized exhibitions, concerts and performances seating around 2,500 people. We are naming this cultural centre The Forum to hint at the city’s Roman history. Alongside The Forum we propose a 250-bedroom Forum Hotel while in front of The Forum would be a large open area for temporary stalls and socialising named the Forum Square. Our research shows there is a need for some small business starter units with accommodation above which we suggest could be built to the west called the Forum Village. Gateway+ foresees this might develop into Chichester’s Silicon Valley. Finally, we have learnt that NHS England would like to provide a new medical centre for primary care, and Gateway+ proposes a new building currently called The Forum Lozenge which might be renamed the Forum Medical Centre. Our suggested layout can be understoodin the aerial street plan below.

Aerial perspective of the proposed Forum Quarter created alongside Chichester Station
Chichester Station

We also understand Network Rail would very much like to consider developing the station and create at least one more platform so that they would have the opportunity to run a metro line between Chichester and Bognor, which would be a vital ingredient to reducing traffic along the A27 and A259. Indeed, the University would also very much like this because their two campuses are served by buses at the moment. Our proposal suggests a new station with high level concourse to house the ticket office and shops with escalators down to the platform. This would also serve to link the Forum to the Southern Leisure Park.

Replace the level crossings

Gateway+ proposals also tackle one of the most contentious issues on the south side of Chichester, which are the level crossings. We propose that both crossings should be removed and replaced with a two-way underpass at Basin Road sufficient in height for single decker buses to pass. Some believe this is not possible, but we have consulted at least two engineers who confirm it is indeed technically achievable.

Simplify the road layout

Gateway+ proposals also provide a solution to the currently chaotic road layout which causes appalling delays and serious environmental problems. As part of this revised layout a new Transport Hub would be situated between the Ave de Chartres Car Park and The Forum, where buses, taxis, coaches, and maybe electric mini trams could operate.

Chichester’s changed political context

As you will all now know there has been a seismic shift in CDC’s political balance after the May local elections. The previous Gateway+ proposals were not adequately received by the previous council whose Masterplan is now well out of date and does not deal with the problems faced by Chichester and its inhabitants. Gateway+ now hopes to promote our ideas to the newly elected council members and we have indeed had very supportive comments from many of those now representing us all. We are particularly encouraged by the support of all parties after recent discussions. We are aware that CDC is assessing interest from developers to their Southern Gateway Master Plan based on a development brief sent out in April 2019. We also understand that Council officers are not fixed on the current proposals and if Councillors or any other parties wish to suggest other schemes, they will take these into account. We see the Gateway+ job is to make sure all Councillors are aware of our ideas so they can reach a much bolder proposal for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance what Chichester has to offer.

Please help Gateway+

We ask you to consider helping in the following ways:

  • Contact your councillor and ask them to support Gateway+
  • Discuss Southern Gateway with your friends and encourage them to do the same thing • Let us have your email address so we can keep you informed.
  • Consider contributing a small amount (say, £10) to our campaign. You can find out details of how to contribute on our website whose address is: http://www.gateway-plus.co.uk/about.

We plan to have a further meeting in the City to update everyone on our campaign. We hope we can count on your support and do get in touch if you wold like more information or would like to get more involved with Gateway+.

We need funds to accelerate our publicity so that we create a groundswell for these ideas. Our intention is to spread the word far and wide so we cannot be ignored by those who will finally make the decision of what is to happen to Chichester’s so-called Southern Gateway.

(This article originally appeared in the September 2019 edition of the Society’s Newsletter)

Four Towns @ 50 Conference 50th anniversary of the Government’s “Four Studies in Conservation”

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Government’s “Four Studies in Conservation” looking at Bath, Chester, Chichester and York, a national conference will be held in Chichester on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October.

The hosts are the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CCAAC) which was set up by Chichester District Council in 1976 to advise the council on planning within the city centre conservation area.

The Civic Amenities Act (1967) required planning authorities to designate conservation areas for all areas of historic interest, and the Government selected four historic towns for special study ‘to discover how to reconcile our old towns with the 20th century without actually knocking them down’.

Despite being far smaller than the other three cities, Chichester was one of the four chosen due largely to the enthusiasm of the city council’s town clerk Eric Banks. These Studies in Conservation, published in 1969, led the way for conservation areas nationally.

The Friday conference sessions will be held at the Assembly Room, North Street, Chichester, from 10am to 5pm. Professor John Gold of Oxford Brookes University, will start by giving an overview of the four studies. He will then be followed by speakers from each of the cities who will explain the effects the studies have had on their own areas.

A light buffet lunch will be served, and the day’s proceedings will close with a keynote address on the state of conservation areas nationally; given by Joan Humble, Chair of Civic Voice.

Saturday will be devoted to a series of morning and afternoon themed walks around the city centre including an examination of the Pallants area which was examined in detail by the Chichester study, and a look at a range of 20th and 21st century buildings.

Alan Green, Chairman of the CCAAC said: ‘this conference, which is being publicised nationally, is not to be missed! The four towns have come together to mark the 50th anniversary of a pivotal moment in their conservation, and to reflect what has happened since.’

Tickets for the conference are priced £40 (which includes both days) and are available from the Chichester Box Office at the Novium Museum, Tower Street, Chichester PO19 1QH. They can be collected in person or booked online here or by phoning 01243 816525. Please be sure to give your name, address and email when you book.


 

Visit to Selsey Lifeboat

Caroline Bullen reports on the day members of The Chichester Society visited the new Selsey onshore Lifeboat Station on 26th June 2019.

As everyone assembled outside the station, the weather conditions were much more favourable than the previous visit in rain and high winds shortly before the old station was demolished, in 2016.

The visit was scheduled for 11am, but upon arrival we were told that the all-weather Shannon class lifeboat named ‘Denise and Eric’ had been launched for a training exercise.
So it was decided to have the indoor presentation until the boat returned. News then suddenly came through that the lifeboat was in fact on it’s way back, so everyone returned to the launch area. As it happened, this was a great opportunity to see ‘Denise and Eric’ being beached on to the shingle, ready to be skilfully manoeuvred by the impressive recovery system team. A great photo opportunity!

‘Denise and Eric’ being beached on to the shingle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Launch Recovery System was initiated to haul the boat onto the tractor unit and return it to base. Mike Cole, the Station Education and Visits Officer then invited members back inside the station building to give a detailed account and presentation of the new Shannon AWL 13-20 and a D class inshore lifeboat (ILB D-827 ‘Flt Lt John Buckley RAF).
Joined by Colin, whose task is to ensure the boat gets safely ‘in and out’ of the sea, members then had the opportunity to ask questions.

Lifeboat being captured by recovery system

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launched from the beach, the 18 tonne, ‘self righting’ Shannon lifeboat, performs better the faster it goes. Fuel is specially delivered to the station by a road tanker to fill the Shannon’s 5,000 litre fuel tank. Costing £2.2 million, the Shannon, whose engine is completely waterproof, does 2 nautical miles to one gallon of fuel.

Shock absorbing seats further protect the 6 crew from impact when pounding through the waves. Of the 34 at the station, 32 are volunteers. A mechanic is on site and daily and monthly checks are made as well as an annual review. At one time, all volunteers were fishermen, today however, they number only 4.

The 37 tonne, tractor Launch Recovery System, ‘Miss Eileen Beryl Phillips,’ costing £1.5 million is designed and manufactured at Clayton Engineering in Knighton, Powys, Wales. Designed for the Shannon class lifeboats, it revolutionises the way lives are saved at sea. It can tow boats up steep, shingle beaches and can be driven straight into big surf and safely launch the boat in up to 2.4m of water. In the event of a breakdown with an incoming tide, the water-tight tractor can be completely submerged in depths up to 9 m before being retrieved once the tide is receded in complete working order.

Tractor Launch Recovery System, ‘Miss Eileen Beryl Phillips’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once recovered from the beach, bow first, a unique turntable cradle rotates the Shannon 180 degrees ready for her next launch. Larger windows and CCTV give volunteer tractor drivers better visibility. A hydraulic system means that the height of the whole rig can be reduced to fit inside the boathouses. The reduced time of launching with such an impressive system, certainly makes a difference.

 

Safely back home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is far from those days back in 1861 when it all began with a double-banked lifeboat, 35 feet long and using 12 oars which was transported from Chichester. The boat, costing £180 was presented to the institution by members of the Society of Friends.

Members were interested in seeing old photographs of the encroachment of the sea and its impact upon the position of the station over time.

With it’s 155 year history, the Crew have been presented with 10 awards for gallantry. Their dedication and bravery in saving lives is phenomenal and in the words of Mike Cole, they are all one big ‘happy family.’

Visit over, members made their way over to a pre-booked lunch at the Lifeboat Inn – an opportunity to chat and reflect upon on a noteworthy charity who provides a 24 hour lifeboat search and rescue service to save lives at sea.

(Pictures provided by Anna Bloomfield)

Pevsner’s West Sussex Guide has a Makeover

Editor Elizabeth Williamson on challenges facing her team
to update a 54 year old classic

Chichester Society members have probably consulted, or even own, a copy of The Buildings of England: Sussex, by Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner, first published in 1965. It covers the historic county, treating the post-1888 East and West Sussex as two separate sections in a single volume. Nikolaus Pevsner’s East Sussex was revised by the late Nicholas Antram and published as Sussex: East in 2013. At last the West Sussex volume is complete and is now available in bookshops.

Nikolaus Pevsner, joint author with Ian Nairn for the original guide to West Sussex Photo: Yale University Press
What’s new?

What can you expect to find that’s new and what has been preserved from the original Sussex? The foundation is Ian Nairn’s West Sussex section, with some interventions by Pevsner, and the swathe of Pevsner’s East Sussex consigned to West Sussex in 1974. It has taken three authors to bring it all up-to-date. The team grew as work progressed. Tim Hudson took on Arundel and Chichester (apart from the Cathedral and Close, revised by John Crook), Midhurst and Petworth, places south of a line from Southbourne to Eartham, all but one of Lutyens’ houses, and the Charterhouse in Cowfold. Jeremy Musson has worked on the remainder of Chichester District, that is, eastwards to Loxwood and Bury. Other significant contributors were Bernard Worssam and David Rudling for specialist introductions to the county’s geology and archaeology. David also checked and updated all archaeology entries and wrote new ones including Roman Chichester and Chichester’s City Walls. ‘Pevsner guides’ would be an impossible task without the help of dozens of experts on particular localities and subjects, many of whose names you will recognise in the Acknowledgements – where we also thank those who kindly invited us into houses, churches and public buildings.

Spotting stylistic contrast

Should the reader detect differences in style and content in the easterly parishes, that is at least partly due to the distinctive approaches of the original authors. Pevsner regretted that Nairn ‘… found that he could no longer bear to write the detailed descriptions which are essential’ once he had completed West Sussex, acknowledging that ‘Mr Nairn has a greater sensibility to landscape and townscape than I have, and he writes better than I could ever hope to write. On the other hand, those who want something a little more cataloguey … may find my descriptions more to their liking.’ A balance has been struck: the original authors’ intentions and words have been preserved where appropriate but often fresh research and more time to investigate have required fresh beginnings or almost complete overhaul.

Marriott Lodge was designed by Ahrend, Burton &
Koralek as an extension to the Theological College at
3 Westgate. It is now part of a residential care home Photo: James O Davies
Chichester

Probably most important to Society members is the new information about Chichester and its immediate surroundings. At the centre is John Crook’s account of the Cathedral, prefaced by a splendid new introduction clearly explaining the building phases. There is new information too about the Close, including rare survivals like the C13 roof of St Faith’s chapel in St Faith’s House. In the town, Tim Hudson has cast a critical eye over the most recent additions: Pallant House Gallery, with a ‘lumpish S front’, and the Novium, ‘unrelated to its surroundings’, do not come off unscathed, though there is praise for the ‘appropriate’ additions to the Festival Theatre. Some older modern buildings are reappraised. One is Marriott Lodge, which, at the time of the first edition, was planned as an extension to the Theological College at No. 3 Westgate. New discoveries have been made about older buildings presented here as ‘Perambulations’. Within a short walk along West Street one can find out about such diverse subjects as: the 21st century sculpture of St Richard; the Prebendal School’s medieval fabric; Edes House and its seventeenth-century interior; the original purpose of former St Peter’s Church; and the architect of the Oliver Whitby School (until recently House of Fraser).

The Gridshell at Singleton’s Weald & Downland Museum, completed 2002
by Edward Cullinan & Associates with Buro Happold as engineers Photo: James O Davies
The coast

Useful attention is given to historical development. Along the coast for example, Selsey has been separated from the ancient Church Norton and given its due as a seaside resort; there are some special early C20 buildings including large Arts-and-Crafts houses, notably The Bill House by Baillie Scott. On Thorney Island the RAF Officers’ Mess takes its place alongside the medieval church and rectory.

New themes

A huge range of information is to be found throughout this volume from church monuments, medieval wall paintings and war memorials to the architects of Victorian churches and schools; architectural histories of great houses such as Cowdray, Petworth and West Dean; and the local character of cottages and village halls. New for this edition are discussions of challenging modern designs, particularly those for the Goodwood and Wakehurst estates and at the Weald and Downland Museum, with its collection of vernacular buildings. This West Sussex volume of The Buildings of England series will guide you to the best of the county’s architecture. And the colour photography is fantastic!

The authors
Elizabeth Williamson is former editor of the Pevsner Architectural Guides. Tim Hudson is a former editor of the Victoria County History for Sussex. Jeremy Musson is an architectural historian, consultant, and author.

An earlier article by Tim Hudson published during the planning phase  for the update is available here
The Buildings of England: West Sussex. Yale University Press. The book jacket features Boxgrove Priory on the front cover (right) and Monkton House Image: Yale University Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of the Society’s Newsletter)

Chichester merits UNESCO World Heritage Status

Why we believe Chichester merits consideration

When one studies William Gardner’s map of the City of Chichester dated 1769 it becomes clear how little of the really important elements of our great City have actually changed over all the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nairn and Pevsner in their 1965 edition of the Buildings of England record that the Romans occupied Chichester almost immediately after the conquest and encircled its 100 acres with a wall much of which remains today. It misses its four cardinal gates and perhaps these could be reinstated.

But within its walls lie not only the Cathedral, distant views of which are dominant within the largely flat landscape, but also its precincts, the Market Cross, St Mary’s Hospital and a plethora of Georgian architecture lining its medieval street pattern. Of all the periods of English building, none has surpassed the Georgian era and we have numerous examples of houses rebuilt from about 1700. Dr Thomas Sharp’s 1949 report Georgian City commissioned by the City Council includes the pertinent remark that ‘Chichester is a very special city indeed which probably holds more of the purity and true essence of its type than any now remaining in England. It is an important and irreplaceable part of the national heritage’.

The Chichester Society Executive Committee believes that this kind of history could make Chichester a prime candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Status when one considers the good fit we make with UNESCO’s criteria for selection spelt out below. It can take years to submit an application but these delays may be acceptable if Chichester becomes better known both nationally and internationally. Our September newsletter will be asking our members what they think.

Do you agree that we should try? Please let us have your comments

The Selection Criteria for Inclusion

To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.

These criteria are explained in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage. The criteria are regularly revised by the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.

Until the end of 2004, World Heritage sites were selected on the basis of six cultural and four natural criteria. With the adoption of the revised Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, only one set of ten criteria exists.

Selection criteria
  1. to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
  2. to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;
  3. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
  4. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  5. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
  6. to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The (UNESCO) Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);
  7. to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
  8. to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
  9. to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
  10. to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations. Since 1992 significant interactions between people and the natural environment have been recognized as cultural landscapes.


The extent of our history was captured in part by our Heritage Trails  -details of which are on our website here  where they are available in downloadable form or can be followed on a  smartphone or tablet as you walk around our City. Printed versions may be available from the Novium and other locations.

Objection to Whitehouse Farm Phase 2 Parcel B 91 homes

The Society has objected on 15 July to the plannng application 19/01531/REM – All outstanding Reserved Matters for the erection of 91 dwellings with associated parking, landscaping, informal open space and associated work on Phase 2, Parcel B, pursuant to permission 14/04301/OUT.

The Executive Committee had the following comments on this application and asked the Council to seek modification of these details of the proposal to improve the contribution of this development in the growth of Chichester.

  • We support the local objectors’ concern that no traffic measures are being implemented for improvement in safety or dealing with congestion and air quality on the Old Broyle Road and St Paul’s Road .
  • The implementation of the architectural character studies has been disappointing and is restricted to random sprinkling of brick colours render finish and artificial slate and concrete tile roofs. We couldn’t ascertain what materials and finish are proposed for windows and external doors. Unlike Parcel A there are no chimneys or 2.5 storey features proposed but as for the earlier phase more articulation of facades and attaching of detached houses to form architectural groups would improve place making.
  • Parcel B, like Parcel A, is remote from all community facilities and the current 2 hourly bus service into the City produces a car dependent settlement. This is exacerbated by the lack of permeability out of the site for cyclists and pedestrians.
  • The provision of tandem parking to many houses is a difficult feature in user experience.
  • There needs to be a proposal for landscaping the buffer zone between Parcel B and the retained Whitehouse Farm property to the east.
  • Security for public open spaces should be provided with r-orientating houses to overlook

 

Honorary part-time treasurer required for ChiSoc by October

The Society relies heavily on volunteers and we have a wonderful ‘bunch’ helping with such tasks as stuffing envelopes, hand-delivery of the Newsletter and membership administration. So now the Chichester Society is seeking a part-time Treasurer for October this year to join the ‘team’ when the present incumbent Bob Wiggins retires after 3 years in the role.

‘Treasurer’ sounds daunting but in essence it is to keep proper financial records and to demonstrate this by producing an annual statement of the financial position of the Society. To provide more details the tasks involved are summarised below and as you will see the volumes or effort involved do not in any way require full time commitment – just as and when needed by the matters at hand.

  • Issuing cheques (2 signatories are required to sign, one being the Treasurer) – approx 40 pa
  • Receiving monies (cash and cheques) and paying into bank – approx 50 cheques pa
  • Depositing and recording standing orders with the relevant banks – approx 15pa
  • Recording subscriptions received against relevant members and identifying and following-up non-payers – approx 380 members pa (most pay in Jan/Feb when standing orders operate)
  • Recording receipts and payments – approx 112 spread over the year
  • Reconciling records with monthly bank statements – approx 112 entries pa
  • Providing quarterly financial reports to the Society’s Executive Committee – 4 reports
  • Preparing annual accounts and paperwork for the External Examiner and obtaining approval from the Executive for his report – approx over 2 weeks around August-September (our year end is 31 August)
  • Presenting the Annual accounts to the AGM (October) – oral and written presentation
  • Managing Gift Aid details and claims – usually twice pa around May and September using template provided by HMRC
  • Managing Society details with Charity Commission – approx 1 week over the year
  • Issuing invoices and receipts for the Society (currently mainly to advertisers) – approx 12 pa

The present record keeping systems used by the Treasurer are as follows:

  1. Membership application forms, standing orders and gift aid declarations for each member are filed as paper copies in membership number order (Membership contact details are managed and kept by a separate Membership Secretary) It is anticipated that the incoming Treasurer will continue maintaining the paper records)
  2. Membership subscription and donation details for members are held electronically in a Microsoft Access database (The Access database could continue if there is familiarity with the software – otherwise it could be converted to a spreadsheet format or even managed on paper, albeit less efficiently)
  3. Receipts and payments are held electronically using freely available software  VT Cash Book available here (also used by the External Examiner). (It is preferable for use of VT Cash Book to continue, but its records can be exported to MS Excel and managed thereafter in that format – or even on paper , but much less efficiently)

Bob Wiggins will be available to smooth the transfer of duties and demonstrate and explain the 3 records keeping systems.

So are you interested? Or do you know someone who would like to develop experience in the work or software used or could help in elements of these duties to add to their CV? We are happy to clarify or discuss any aspect further.
If interested or have any queries please reply via our contact page.

Six Decades of Change across Chichester

One Cicestrian to witness the city’s changes is author and historian
Alan Green
Westgate Fields before the College and new road were built. Can you see the cows grazing? Photo: author’s collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 1959 aerial photograph provides a telling snapshot of the city as it was 60 years ago and is very nostalgic for me as it shews the Chichester of my boyhood. As a (true) Cicestrian I have observed closely the changes that have occurred over those 60 years and will point out just a few features that can be seen in the view.

Alan Green in 1959 when a pupil at Central Junior Boys School Photo: author’s collection
Open Spaces

Most striking from the first glance is the vast open expanse of Westgate Fields (B) which at the time were the city’s water meadows, stretching down to the harbour intersected only by the railway and the A27. For a boy growing up in Chichester in the 1950s and 60s, Westgate Fields was a lotus land: a busy shunting yard to be observed from the long footbridge, the River Lavant and its many tributaries, copious mud and many dogs. Loss of the fields began in 1962 with the building of Chichester College, followed in 1964 by the ring road (Avenue de Chartres) which cut across from Southgate to Westgate, then a car park (later to be redeveloped as multi-storey) and a rapid expansion of the college, all of which completely filled the area north of the railway. South of the railway the Terminus Road Industrial Estate was to spread westwards to occupy the fields down to the A27 (F) .

Westgate Fields before the College and new road were built. Can you see the cows grazing? Photo: author’s collection

More lost open land can be seen to the north of the photograph. In 1959 East Broyle Farm (X) had just been sold for a private housing development. Starting in 1961, 412 houses were progressively built on the site known as the East Broyle Estate. Just below that was Little Breech Farm (Y)whichwas also to be developed for housing from 1967,this time by the City Council to provide affordablehomes.

The other expanse of open ground is Oaklands Park (C) where a notable absence from the photo is the Festival Theatre. Leslie Evershed-Martin had had his brainwave in 1959 but construction was not to start until 1961, bringing the one major change that surely no-one would dispute as having been for the better. The theatre apart, Oaklands Park has miraculously escaped the attentions of developers.

Infrastructure

It is noticeable how the westward expansion of the city had been arrested by the Midhurst railway line (E). Although it had lost its passenger services in 1935, a stump of the line still served Lavant, conveying sugar beet. When this traffic ceased the line served new gravel workings near Brandy Hole Lane whence trains took the mineral to Drayton, thus obviating heavy lorry movements through the city. When this in turn ceased in 1991, the line was turned into a cycleway/footpath known, by dint of someone’s baffling logic, as Centurion Way. The Romans did many things for Chichester but railways were not amongst them! Staying with transport, Southdown’s bus operations had transferred in 1956 from West Street to a purpose-built bus station in Southgate. The adjacent, and brand new, bus garage (Q) has a thin shell, prestressed concrete roof whose clear span was ground-breaking for its era. Although locally listed, its future is now under threat from the Southern Gateway Development Plan.

In Stockbridge Road is the gasworks (O). This had stopped producing coal gas in 1958 when gas was piped up from Portsmouth, The south end of the site was redeveloped as the GPO sorting office in 1964 but the gasholders were to remain in use until the arrival of North Sea Gas in 1970. The north end of the site would eventually be redeveloped by McCarthy and Stone as Brampton Court.

Schools, Ancient, Modern and Revised

In New Park Road can be seen what is now the New Park Centre (L) with whose facilities most readers will be familiar. In 1959 however, it was still the Central Junior Boys’ School where I numbered amongst its pupils. The school was to move to Orchard Street in 1964 after which the site was earmarked for redevelopment. Fortunately, it was to be saved by a vigorous campaign to convert it into a community centre – a victory for democracy! In 1962 I moved on to Chichester High School for Boys (I) in Kingsham Road. In the photograph its extensive playing fields can be seen, but the eastern end of them have long since been developed for housing (Herald Drive) and most of the outlying school buildings have since been demolished. The remaining buildings were abandoned in 2014. They still exist, but only just as they are boarded up awaiting their fate: Chichester High School for Boys was to cease to be just two years later.

Chichester High School for Girls was then in Stockbridge Road (J). After it had amalgamated with the Lancastrian Girls’ School in 1971 it progressively moved to newer premises in Kingsham and the Stockbridge site was abandoned. Chichester Gate was built on its playing field in 2003 and recently the main school building was converted into student flats.

Industry and Infirmary

Almost opposite the Boys’ High in Kingsham Road was Wingard’s factory (P) . Wingard made seatbelts and other automotive products and were a major employer in Chichester. They were taken over by Britax who eventually relocated after which the site was converted into housing.

Chichester still had two main hospitals in 1959; The Royal West Sussex (M) in Broyle Road and St Richard’s (S)off Spitalfield Lane. Both were relativelysmall so the two gradually amalgamated at StRichard’s which was to expand exponentially into thecurrent hospital. The ‘Royal West’ (as it was knownlocally) was converted into apartments namedForbes Place after one of its founders. There wasalso the separate Isolation Hospital on the south sideof Spitalfield Lane [not indicated] but that closed inthe 1960s. I can claim to have been an inmate of allthree!

The Cattle Market (K) was still very active in 1959 with cattle arriving by train, being grazed overnight in Westgate Fields and then driven to market on the hoof. The photo shews the site covered with sheds and pens all of which were to be swept away in 1990 when the market closed and was converted into – yes – another car park.

The Festival Theatre under construction in 196. Photo: author’s collection.
Destruction

Also seen still standing is the east side of Somerstown (N) This late Georgian development of artisan housing, had been condemned in 1958 as slums by Chichester City Council – a controversial action challenged in the national press by Sir Lawrence Olivier no less. Protest fell on deaf ears though and all was swept away in 1964. The site lay empty for 10 years before redevelopment took place but, whilst the new housing estate perpetuated the name Somerstown, it was a very poor substitute for what had been lost. Mercifully the west side of Somerstown was to be spared, its erstwhile ‘slums’ now being considered highly desirable residences. There was also to be destruction of many Georgian buildings in Southgate and Westgate in order to accommodate the ends of the aforementioned ring road, and this took place in 1963-65.

On the other side of Broyle Road is the Sloe Fair Field (V) taking its name from the eponymous fair that had taken place annually by Royal Charter since 1107. The field was tarmacked over to form a new car park in 1961 which deprived the fair of much of its charm. It invariably rained on 20 October resulting in the field becoming a quagmire making squelching through the mud an added attraction.

Envoi

Much of the change over the last 60 years has beeninevitable in order to provide for an ever expandingpopulation, but some, such as the wanton destructionof the east side of Somerstown and the obliteration ofthe water meadows, is difficult to forgive. One wouldlike to think that such would not happen today…

The same aerial view in 2079 will shew Whitehouse Farm (Z)developed with its 1,600 houses – but whatelse besides one wonders? I for one will not be hereto see it!

Alan Green is chairman of Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee and the author of several books on the city’s history.

(This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of the Society’s Newsletter. To see more from this issue go to our past Newsletters page)

Objections to outstanding Reserved Matters for the erection of 73 residential dwellings Whitehouse Farm

The Chichester Society objected to various matters that arose in the planning application from Miller Homes and Linden Homes concerning the erection of 73 dwellings in Land West of Centurion Way and West of Old Broyle Road.

Proposed character areas

In particular the following objections were made:

  • The overlong access drive to the SANG car parking creates an un-necessary suburban
    element of what is currently a country road out of the City.
  • The provision of tandem parking to most houses is a difficult feature in user experience.
  • The implementation of the architectural character studies has been disappointing in particular with the provision of dummy chimneys, painted brick facades, uPVC windows and that more articulation of facades and attaching of detached houses to form architectural groups would improve place making.
  • This first phase to be built is well screened, but is remote from all community facilities and the current 2 hourly bus service into the City produces a car dependent settlement.
  • The preponderance of culs de sac adds to vehicle journey lengths.
  • The affordable and shared ownership housing is readily identifiable ranged along the side closest to traffic noise rather than scattered throughout the estate.

The reference document in question is the West of Chichester Residential Architectural Design Strategy available to view here as Part 1 and Part 2.

Full details of the planning application 19/01134/REM and of comments made can be viewed on the Council website here.