Hard on the heels of the Government’s announcement of the establishment, amid much controversy, of its ‘Building Better. Building Beautiful Commission’ came the news that the Housing Project of the Year under the British Construction Industry Awards for 2018 had gone to Rousillon Park in Chichester, the site of the former military barracks.
The project was commissioned by Homes England and designed by architect Ben Pentreath and adopts a traditional street layout that responds to the historic street patterns within Chichester. A narrow, gridded street pattern links a series of green public spaces. Built on the site of the town’s military barracks, brick predominates but with the occasional use of the local grey sandstone and Sussex flint.
The architectural language adopts the scale, proportion and materials of traditional town houses, but is designed to feel intentionally contemporary in its restraint, with more modern detailing of elements such as doors, windows and railings. William Smalley Architectsalso worked on the design of houses.
Construction commenced in 2012 and the site was completed in 2018.
(Thanks to Stuart Tappin for referencing the item in the Ancient Monuments Society Newsletter and to Ben Pentreath for information from their website)
The Chichester proposed parking management plan went out for consultation earlier this year and related to the earlier Roadspace Audit study which can be found here.
The study included various recommendations relating to parking and it to these that the Chichester Society has responded. Members of the Chichester Society’s Executive Committee visited the various displays and discussed the substance of the study. Their response has been submitted and can be found here.
The Club celebrated its 125th anniversary this year with an exhbition which was hosted at the Novium Museum in March.
In this article by Amy Roberts and Portia Tremlett (first published in the December 2018 isue of the Chichester Society’s Newsletter) explore a fascinating history since Chichester Camera Club, first known as Chichester Photographic Society, was formed in 1893.
The early years
To begin with, the Photographic Society met weekly, organised lectures about new photographic techniques and equipment, and arranged excursions to places such as Midhurst, Hunston and Arundel. Monthly and annual competitions were held. Categories for entries included Seascapes and Landscapes, Architecture, and Lantern Slides.
Some members of the Society were prominent local citizens including George Turnbull who was an Alderman and also Mayor from 1909 to 1912 and again in 1919. He was a member of the Society until at least 1939 when he would have been around 85 years of age.
The First World War took its toll of both the membership and its activities, and in 1917 meetings were abandoned. They were resumed, however in 1922 when a notice appeared in the paper in the rather formal style of the period inviting both LADIES AND GENTLEMEN to attend a meeting at the Technical Institute on North Street with the intention of restarting the Society. This led to weekly meetings, regular excursions and lectures. The Society moved to new premises in 1928 at Flint House in South Street. There they held an exhibition of old photographs taken by former and current members.
The society continued to flourish in the 1930s and competitions improved in quality and quantity of entries. 1938 saw an innovation in the way competitions were judged. Until this time entries had been assessed by fellow members but this changed and entries were passed to an external expert for judging. During the Second World War the Society met only twice in the two years 1940 to 1942. It seems fuel rationing greatly limited their efforts to organise excursions. By 1945 they had left their premises in South Street and placed their possessions in store.
A new beginning
Members of the Society did not meet again until 1949 when they emerged from the war years with a new name – the Chichester Camera Club. The club met fortnightly now at the Methodist Hall in the Hornet. The first post-war exhibition was held in 1950. Since then the Club has thrived. It is now recognised as one of the most successful photographic clubs in the country with a reputation for excellent photography and a programme of visiting speakers, competitions and social events. Anyone with an interest in photography is welcome.
‘Good by Design’ is the Horsham Society’s views on what constitutes good design in Horsham. It combines and expands content from the Horsham Town Design Statement adopted by Horsham District Council in December 2008 and from the Design Protocol of Chichester District Council, December 2013. Click hereto view their document.
The notes are intended as guidance as to what the Horsham Society is looking for and are intended as starting point and the employment of judgement and evaluation are very much matters for the observers themselves.
So what are our views on such matters for Chichester?
The Chichester Society, through its Executive Committee, recently made known its views on the Chichester District Council’s Local Plan Review (the Review is available here).
In particular in relation to ‘ Section S20 – Design’ (reproduced below from the Review) ‘ChiSoc welcomed this additional policy and supported its purpose in the Plan
Policy S20: Design
All proposals for new development will be required to be of high quality design that:
responds positively to the site and its surroundings, cultural diversity and history, conserves and enhances historic character and reinforces local identity or establishes a distinct identity whilst not preventing innovative responses to context;
creates a distinctive sense of place through high quality townscape and landscaping that physically and visually integrates with its surroundings;
provides a clear and permeable structure of streets, routes and spaces that are legible and easy to navigate through because of the use of street typology, views, landmarks, public art and focal points;
is well connected to provide safe and convenient ease of movement by all users, prioritising pedestrian and cycle movements both within the scheme and neighbouring areas and ensuring that the needs of vehicular traffic does not dominate at the expense of other modes of transport, or undermine the resulting quality of places;
incorporates and/or links to high quality Green Infrastructure and landscaping to enhance biodiversity and meet recreational needs, including public rights of way
is built to last, functions well and is flexible to changing requirements of occupants and other circumstances;
addresses the needs of all in society by incorporating mixed uses and facilities as appropriate with good access to public transport and a wide range of house types and tenures
is visually attractive and respects and where possible enhances the character of the surrounding area in terms of its scale, height, density, layout, massing, type, details, materials,
provides a high standard of amenity for existing and future neighbours, occupiers and users of the development;
creates safe communities and reduces the likelihood and fear of crime;
secures a high quality public realm with well managed and maintained public areas that are overlooked to promote greater community safety, with clearly defined private spaces;
ensures a sufficient level of well-integrated car and bicycle parking and external storage;
is sustainable and resilient to climate change by taking into account landform, layout, building orientation, massing and landscaping to minimise energy consumption and mitigate water run-off and flood risks.
Now it’s your turn!
We would welcome your views on such design issues whether on major developments or ones that affect a particular locality. You may do so via ourcontact page. However before doing so you might like to consult the full Local Plan Review here
Having considered the content of the Review document the Society has filed the following comments and suggested changes on development principles, transport strategy, design, the Southern Gateway and land allocation.
Please refer to the original document herefor background to the comments
OnPolicy S13: Chichester City Development Principles
ChiSoc welcome the minor changes proposed which include the protection of views of the cathedral. Please note the duplication of the policy on the city’s existing heritage, arts and culture
On Policy S14: Chichester City Transport Strategy
ChiSoc propose the following additional measures are included:
Replacement of the level crossings in Basin Road and Stockbridge Road by an underpass or bridge
Safeguarding of land to enable the expansion of the Chichester railway Station, its tracks and platforms, from 2 to 4 to enable a fast train service
Safeguarding of land close to the A27 for a future “park and ride”
Safeguarding of land close to the A27 for a “consolidation centre” for break bulk delivery to city retail units.
On Policy S20: Design
ChiSoc welcome this additional policy and support its purpose in the Plan
On Policy S23: Transport and Accessibility
ChiSoc welcome this additional policy and support its purpose in the Plan.
It especially welcomes the proposed New road connecting Birdham Road to A27 Fishbourne roundabout (see Policy AL6), known as the Stockbridge Link Road when first proposed by Highways England as part of Option 2b in the 2016 Consultation.
On Policy AL5: Southern Gateway
ChiSoc propose the following changes are made:
In site specific requirement number 3 we propose “3. Respect for the historic context, have regard to that part of Southern Gateway that lies within the Conservation Area and to the Listed Buildings and Heritage Assets, and make a positive contribution towards protecting and enhancing the local character and special heritage of the area and important historic views, especially those from the Canal Basin towards Chichester Cathedral;
We propose to add as site specific requirement number 4 “provision of a bridge or underpass to allow the removal of the level crossings on Stockbridge Road and Basin Road”
We propose the removal of paragraph 7
On Policy AL6: Land South-West of Chichester (Apuldram and Donnington Parishes)
ChiSoc supports this new policy, and its land allocation.
The Preferred Approach version of the Chichester Local Plan Review has now been published for consultation as part of the preparation of the Chichester Local Plan Review, for the Chichester plan area (outside the South Downs National Park). The consultation period for the Chichester Local Plan Review – Preferred Approach (Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning Act (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012) will run from 13 December 2018 to 7 February 2019.
Chichester District Council (CDC) explain on their website that : “changes to the way the Government requires us to calculate future housing needs means that we now plan to build at least 650 new homes each year in the Local Plan Area, up to 2035”.
But Planning Policy requires CDC to accommodate only 609 new homes each year; however, in addition, they are under a duty to add an allowance “for accommodating unmet need arising from the Chichester District part of the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA).”
The SDNPA have a shortfall of 41 dwellings in what they say they can accommodate resulting in an additional 41 dwellings being added to the CDC figure making 650 new dwellings each year.
We question this decision because CDC has so little space on which to build all these houses.
To the north lies the SDNP, to the south lies the Chichester Harbour AONB and then the Manhood Peninsula which is part of the southern coastal plain. The southern coastal plain has some of the highest grade agricultural land in the country comprising highly productive brick earth strata and a climate suited to early ripening crops.
How can the SDNPA fail to provide sufficient space for their own housing needs despite towns such as Midhurst needing to expand?
Local Historian Alan Green on George Murray’s life, and plans for a commissioned sculpture in the cit.
There can be few living in Chichester who have not now heard of Admiral Sir George Murray following the “Murrayfest” held in 2015 and the recent newspaper publicity about the proposed statue of Murray and Nelson by Chichester sculptor Vincent Gray. Admiral Murray’s importance to the country as a whole as the naval officer of whom Nelson famously said “Murray or none”, is well known, but why is he so important to Chichester as to justify his own statue?
To sea aged eleven
George was the middle one of three surviving sons of George and Ann Murray all of whom went on to become prominent citizens, much involved with the life of their native city following the example of their father who was an alderman.1 George was born in January 1759 and baptised at St Peter the Great on 16 April that year.2
In 1770, at the tender age of eleven, George Murray joined the Royal Navy, rising swiftly through the ranks. He served under Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 when the two men became very close friends. He was then sent to the Mediterranean serving as Captain of the Fleet under Nelson, and on 23 April 1804 he was promoted to rear admiral.
Naturally Murray spent most of his active service at sea but missed the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 as he had to remain ashore to sort out the estate of his late father in law; had Murray been at Trafalgar perhaps he, rather than Hardy could have been alongside Nelson when he died.
Life as a civilian
Admiral Murray made a significant impact on Chichester with the building of his grand new house on the corner of North Street and Guildhall Street (now The Ship, also known as the Harbour Hotel) between 1804 and 18063 John Marsh, that great Georgian diarist, obviously thought it rather pretentious when he recorded his first visit to the house on 7 February 1807:
On the next day we fix’d our first visit to Mrs G Murray at ye Admiral’s new House in North Street, term’d whilst it was building the Admiralty . There we met a large company in two rooms of six card tables, one of them a Commerce party of 13.4
After 1808 Admiral Murray did not go back to sea but instead became fully involved in the social life of his native city. John Marsh records several events at the house including the entertaining of royalty; the Prince and Princess of Hesse Hombourg no less (she the third daughter of George III) visited Chichester on 18 June 1818 and Marsh records that “[after] 2 & 3 o’clock… they went to breakfast at Sir G Murray’s”.5
He was also a member of the Book Society whose meetings were held at The Admiralty.
George also followed his father in serving on the Corporation, but prior to this he was awarded the Freedom of the Merchants’ Guild by the Mayor in September 1800. In October 1802, he was nominated for the office of Portreeve and in September 1815 he was elected Mayor.6
Admiral Murray was clearly a man of great wealth whose income enabled him to live a lifestyle commensurate with the scale of his new house: he amassed a considerable wine cellar which was put up for auction on 27 July 1819 after his death and realised £672 15s 6d – equivalent to £47094 at today’s prices7. Not only that, he sent his son George to be educated at Winchester College which cost him some £45 per term in fees.8
George Murray died at his North Street home in Chichester on 28 February 1819 aged 60. John Marsh lamented the loss of his friend, recording with genuine feeling in his journal:
Besides the loss to the Corporation and our Book Society, a valuable member of each, the society in general of Chichester and its vicinity had a great loss, there being no-one who was more universally liked or esteemed.9
Whilst the funeral services of his two brothers were held in the church of St Peter the Great, which at that time was still in the north transept of the Cathedral, that of George, on 8 March 1819, took place in the Cathedral proper, after which he was buried in the Close in the area bound by the cloisters known as Paradise.10
A fine monument to George, and his wife Ann who died in 1859, can be seen in the Sailors’ Chapel in the Cathedral. In 2013 a blue plaque to him was installed on the front of The Ship bearing those immortal words None but Murray will do.
Vincent Gray’s statue of Nelson and Murray will stand opposite The Admiralty in the front garden of 40 North Street (now Jack Wills); appropriately, this was the house of George Murray’s elder brother Richard.
WSRO St Peter the Great, Chichester, Parish Records
WSRO St Peter the Great, Chichester, Parish Records
For a detailed history of the house see The Ship Hotel, Chichester built as the house of Admiral Sir George Mur – ray by Alan H J Green. New Chichester Paper No 6, Chich- ester Local History Society & The University of Chichester 2014
John Marsh History of my Private Life. John Marsh was a wealthy barrister who moved to Chichester in 1787. Every day he wrote about three pages in his journal giving us an authentic – if at times somewhat acerbic – picture of life in a Georgian cathedral city
John Marsh– op cit
WSRO C/3 Chichester Common Council minute book 1783- 1826
Ian Murray collection. A copy of the sale catalogue marked-up with the prices
Ian Murray collection – a statement of Admiral Murray’s account with the college. £45 is equivalent to £3,150 today
John March op cit 10. WSRO Cathedral Close burial register
WSRO Cathedral Close burial register
(This article originally appeared in the September 2018 edition of the Society’s Newsletter)