Sussex Local Nature Partnership’s Natural Capital Investment Strategy is endorsed by the WSCC

The Society has an interest in preservation, protection and improvement in the City of Chichester and its environs and to this extent the natural environment is is an area of concern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The term natural capital’ describes the parts of the natural environment -‘stocks’ of waters, land, air, species, minerals and oceans – that produce value to people. The capital generates ‘goods’ such as clean air and water, food, energy, wildlife, recreation and protection from hazards.

Locally, in this context, the Sussex Local Nature Partnership (NLP) was established “to work across sectors and organisations to secure the healthiest ecological system possible thereby protecting and enhancing the natural environment and all that it gives us”. Its Memorandum of Understanding of February 2014 brings together a wide range of interested parties from farming, local and national government, agencies, businesses, NGOs and research organisations represented on an Executive Committee “formed in such a way as to encourage conversations and interactions to promote the emergence of ideas, thoughts and interactions which will then lead to actions”.

The major output from the NLP has been the Natural Capital Investment Strategy for Sussex 2019-2024 adopted on October 2019 and published in December that year. This Strategy was endorsed by the County Council on 19th February who see it as providing “an important part of the evidence base for the development of the Local Industrial Strategy, the emerging West Sussex Climate Change and Environment Strategy and the East Sussex equivalent”. The strategy comes into effect at the end a call-in period which ends 28 February unless the call-in procedure is activated.

Chichester Cathedral Roof Restoration – update

Cathy Clark, Communications and PR coordinator at Chichester Cathedral,  provides an update on progress with this five-year project

As we reported in the Society’s September 2019 Newsletter, a major project to restore and re-cover the Cathedral’s roofs is underway: the failing copper roof installed after World War Two was allowing rainwater to penetrate the roof vault, damaging the medieval timber structure, masonry and ceiling plasterwork. The project to replace the copper with more traditional lead will last five years and cost £5.8 million.

The work has been split into three phases: Quire, Transepts and Nave. Last November, the second phase, started in March 2019 was completed: the extensive scaffolding was removed, revealing the new lead roof covering the Transepts and Lantern. This part of the project has also included masonry works to repair nineteenth century stones on the Lantern. Decorative stone pillars and stone blocks that face the salty south-westerly coastal wind had become badly eroded and have now been restored.

A just reward

Last summer also saw double recognition for the repair work at the 21st annual Sussex Heritage Awards run by the Sussex Heritage Trust. Lead worker John Hill, along with his sons Lewis and Dale, were winners in the prestigious Building Crafts Award section for the re-covering of the Quire roof. In addition, the Cathedral received Highly Commended status in the Ecclesiastical Award category for the Quire roof restoration. This additionally celebrates the vital work of carpenters John Maddison and Constantin Nistok who are working to repair any damaged timbers that support the new lead covering.

When is completion expected?

The remaining green copper roof covering the Nave is the final and largest phase of the restoration. The scaffolding required is even more complex than before and will take around five months to build.

As this roofing project proceeds we can compare the new-laid lead roof panels over the Lady Chapel (at right) with the existing copper roof over the Nave – the next stage in this five year programme (Photo Bob Wiggins)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the roof project, work has been carefully planned to minimise disruption to the peregrine falcons who return each spring to breed on the spire: as a result they successfully raised seven chicks in 2018 and 2019. Work has now been deliberately delayed in order to safeguard these protected birds of prey. Work will therefore commence on the Nave roof this summer to complete the project once any peregrine chicks have fledged. Meanwhile Chichester Cathedral Trust is still actively fundraising to raise the funds for this vital project.

£1.7million is still needed – if readers would like to make a donation please contact Ali George, Head of Fundraising at the Cathedral on 01243 812480 or email trust@hichestercathedral.org.uk

This article appears in the March 2020 issue of the Society’s Newsletter. Access to its full content* will not be available online till June, so if you want to read this informative issue before then go here to join the Society. 

*Its content includes articles on the Chichester Harbour, St Mary’s Hospital, Selsey’s Lifeboat Station and the arrival of Vietnamese Boat People in Chichester.

Declaring a Climate Emergency – what’s this all about?

What does it mean?

Oxford Dictionaries declared “climate emergency” the word of the year for 2019, following a hundred-fold increase in usage that it says demonstrated a “greater immediacy” in the way we talk about the climate. It defined the term as ‘a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it’. However, the term ‘climate emergency’ has been around for some time, certainly before 2009.

What declarations have been made?

The first declaration of a climate emergency would seem to have been made by Darebin in December 2016, a council located in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne following sustained protests by various groups. It passed the motion that ‘Council recognises that we are in a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including by local councils’, and it agreed to establish an Energy and Environment Working Group to further develop Council proposals for a Darebin Energy Foundation and a Darebin Nature Trust.

At a UK government level the Scottish Parliament declared a climate emergency on 28 April 2019, making Scotland arguably the first country to do so. This was quickly followed by the National Assembly for Wales on the 29 April and then the Parliament of the United Kingdom for the UK as whole in 1 May.

The UK Government’s current target is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050. This target was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s independent climate advisory body.

It has been documented by CACE (Council Action in the Climate Emergency) that as of November 2019 over 1200 local councils across 25 countries have declared a Climate Emergency.

What actions are being taken?

Declaring a climate emergency is not be an end in itself – plans and resources to address the emergency must follow. Actions need be taken at various levels by Individuals, community groups, businesses, local government, national government and international bodies.

Here at our local level the Chichester District Council approved in January 2020  a Climate Emergency Initial Action Plan which includes minimising emissions from new housing,  reduction in food waste, increased tree planting,  enhancing cycle and walking paths, increased electric vehicle charging points and promoting life style changes.

At the UK national level on 27 June 2019 the UK government amended the Climate Change Act and set a legally binding target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the UK economy by 2050. According to the Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) UK emissions were 44% below 1990 levels in 2018. The first (2008-12) and the second carbon budget (2013-17) have been met and the UK is on track to meet the third (2018-22) carbon budget, but is not on track to meet the fourth, which covers the period 2023-27.

UPDATES FROM THE UK GOVERNMENT

The UK Governement introduced its enhanced Enviroment Bill on 30 January 2020.It includes new powers to stop the exports of polluting plastic waste to developing countries, which could prevent harmful waste from being shipped out of sight whilst boosting the UK’s domestic recycling system.

On 4 February 2020 the government published the final estimates of UK territorial greenhouse gas emissions going back to 1990. A summary of the statistics can be found here.

CLIMATE EMERGENCY SOURCES

A vast and increasing number of organisations and pressure groups have arisen concerned with various aspects of climate change and how it might be addressed – examples of those found are noted below.

We welcome additions to this list and your contributions to the climate emergency debate via your comments below.

350.Group
https://350.org/about/
An international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.

Campaign against Climate Change
https://www.campaigncc.org/
The UK-based Campaign against Climate Change (CCC) exists to push for the urgent and radical action we need to prevent the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate. It provides a range of resources for councillors and campaigners

Centre for alternative technology
https://www.cat.org.uk/info-resources/zero-carbon-britain/
The Centre for alternative technology (CAT) is an educational charity located in Wales dedicated to researching and communicating positive solutions for environmental change.

Client Earth
https://www.clientearth.org/
ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect the planet and the people who live on it. They have lawyers and environmental experts across the world who are fighting against climate change and to protect nature and the environment.

Climate Coalition
https://www.theclimatecoalition.org/
UK-based body dedicated to action against climate change representing over 130 organisations across the UK, including the Women’s Institute, the National Trust, and the RSPB. The Climate Coalition is the operating name of the Climate Movement a registered charity.

Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation In Action
https://www.cedamia.org/about/
Australian-based Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation In Action (CEDAMIA) campaigns for a Climate Emergency Declaration at all levels of government. They also campaign for state/territory governments to ban new climate-damaging projects via the No More Bad Investments (NMBI) campaigns, and for local councils to implement Climate Emergency plans.

Climate Emergency Declaration
https://climateemergencydeclaration.org/
This site is hosted in Australia by a network of climate emergency action advocates. Its goal is for governments to declare a climate emergency and mobilise society-wide resources at sufficient scale and speed to protect civilisation, the economy, people, species, and ecosystems.

Climate Emergency UK
https://www.climateemergency.uk/
Climate Emergency UK monitors the ‘Climate & Environmental Emergency’ development in the United Kingdom at both local authority and national government level.

Climate Group
https://www.theclimategroup.org/about
An international non-profit, founded in 2004, with offices in London, New Delhi and New York to accelerate climate action by bringing together powerful networks of businesses and governments, to shift global markets and policies, towards this goal.

Committee on Climate Change
https://www.theccc.org.uk/about/
The Committee on Climate Change (the CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on emissions targets and report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change.

Council Action in the Climate Emergency
https://www.caceonline.org/blog/dont-use-climate-emergency-in-vain-target-setting-in-the-climate-emergency
CACE (Council Action in the Climate Emergency) based in Australia was created to encourage and support councils adopting a Climate Emergency response. CACE is an initiative of Adrian Whitehead and Bryony Edwards in 2017 in response to their successful campaigning with Darebin Council.

Environmental Defense Fund
https://www.edf.org/our-work
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a US based organisation focussing on climate, oceans, ecosystems and health.

Extinction Rebellion
https://rebellion.earth/
An international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimise the risk of social collapse. Numerous Extinction Rebellion groups actively campaign for the declaration of a climate emergency. There is a local Chichester branch Extinction Rebellion Chichester https://xrchi.uk/

Friends of the Earth
https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/what-can-I-do-to-stop-climate-change
Part of an international community dedicated to protecting the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. Leads campaigns, provides resources and information, and aims to drive real solutions to the environmental problems.

Global justice now
https://www.globaljustice.org.uk/campaigns/climate-and-energy
Promotes the idea of Energy democracy  – creating an energy system which is democratic, shifts quickly to renewables and keeps electricity affordable for all.

Go Fossil Free
https://gofossilfree.org/
In the UK, it is mainly focused on divestment campaigning — asking public institutions to cut their political, social and financial ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment was established by the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2008 to create a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research and training on climate change and the environment, bringing together international expertise on economics, finance, geography, the environment, international development and political economy.

Greenpeace
https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/challenges/climate-change/
A Campaigning organisation focussing on changing the way we live.

International Energy Agency
https://www.iea.org/about/mission
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative analysis, data, policy recommendations, and real-world solutions to help countries provide secure and sustainable energy for all.

Natural Resources Defense Council
https://www.nrdc.org/issues/climate-change
a US-based organisation that tackles the climate crisis at its source: pollution from fossil fuels. They work to reduce dependence on these dirty sources by expanding clean energy across cities, states, and nations and for example, winning court cases that allow the federal government to limit carbon pollution from cars and power plants.

Nature Conservancy
https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-priorities/tackle-climate-change/
Focuses on innovative, science-based solutions that match the urgency of this crisis, such as promoting clean energy and restoring forests from Brazil to Indonesia and working to ensure a clean energy future.

Sandbag
https://sandbag.org.uk/
A non-profit climate change think tank based in London and Brussels. Uses data analysis to build evidence-based climate policy. The London branch focuses on accelerating the global coal phase-out, whilst the Brussels branch covers EU industrial policy and the EU ETS.

Statistical Review of World Energy
https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html
The Statistical Review of World Energy provides energy data for the past 68 years. In addition to the raw data, the Statistical Review also provides a record of key energy developments and events through time.

Town and County Planning Association (TCPA)
https://www.tcpa.org.uk/
Campaigns for the reform of the UK’s planning system to make it more responsive to people’s needs and aspirations and to promote sustainable development. Has produced a  guide to planning for climate change  aimed at local authorities

Transition Chichester
http://www.transitionchichester.org/about/
A group keen to promote and embrace change which helps create a sustainable local environment and a more resilient community.

Tyndall Centre
https://www.tyndall.ac.uk/about
The Tyndall Centre is a partnership of universities bringing together researchers from the social and natural sciences and engineering to develop sustainable responses to climate change.

UK Government
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/climate-change-explained
Explanations and guidance from the UK Government.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
https://unfccc.int/about-us/about-the-secretariat
Focussing in its early years largely on facilitating the intergovernmental climate change negotiations, the secretariat today supports a complex architecture of bodies that serve to advance the implementation of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

World Wildlife Fund
https://www.wwf.org.uk/what-we-do/area-of-work/climate-change-and-energy
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an international campaigning organisation to drive changes in policy and legislation. In the UK it is working to ensure that the UK government is held to account on reducing its carbon emissions. Its focus is on 3 main areas: power, transport and buildings (accounting for 90% of UK emissions).

 

Living with beauty – report of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission

The Commission was established as an independent body to advise the UK Government on how to promote and increase the use of high-quality design for new build homes and neighbourhoods. It released its first report ‘Living with Beauty’ on 30 January 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They stress that beauty must become the natural result of working within our planning system. To achieve this result, they have three aims for the system as a whole –

  • Ask for Beauty
  • Refuse Ugliness
  • Promote Stewardship

They state these aims must be embedded in the planning system and in the culture of development, in such a way as to incentivise beauty and deter ugliness at every point where the choice arises. To do this they make policy proposals in the following areas:

  1. Planning: create a predictable level playing field
  2. Communities: bring the democracy forward
  3. Stewardship: incentivise responsibility to the future
  4. Regeneration: end the scandal of left behind place
  5. Neighbourhoods: create places not just houses
  6. Nature: re-green our towns and cities
  7. Education: promote a wider understanding of placemaking
  8. Management: value planning, count happiness, procure properly

If you have a view on this please you are welcome to add your comments below.

Al fresco dining – at a cost under review

The Chichester Vision, outlined in the District Council’s publication Chichester Tomorrow‘ envisages open spaces, places to rest and pedestrianised areas with space for eating out, art and performance, and other leisure activities.  Those visiting our City often welcome areas to sit outside – whether for a coffee, more formal al fresco dining or because they can’t smoke inside the adjoining establishment.

However, to provide some of these facilities comes at a cost  as it is a legal requirement of West Sussex County Council for businesses to have a licence for tables and chairs positioned on the highway, including pavements – and they have  to adhere to various terms and conditions. The Council has apparently recorded a significant rise in complaints due to the increase in tables and needs to assess each location for its suitability.

As of January 2020 the annual fee for placing tables and chairs on the highway is £520. However, the price is subject to change each financial year and the Council has initiated a consultation which closes on 24 February with a decision due March 2020.

Council announces preferred development bidder for Southern Gateway project

The Council released the following Press Release on 13 January

Date of Release: 13 January 2020 Ref: 3951

Council selects developer to deliver major Chichester regeneration

Chichester District Council has selected its preferred development partner to deliver the Southern Gateway regeneration project.

Once appointed, Henry Boot Developments will work to transform the southern area of Chichester into a vibrant and attractive new quarter, as proposed in the Southern Gateway Masterplan.

“We are incredibly pleased to have reached this pivotal stage in the project,” says Councillor Martyn Bell, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place, and Regeneration. “Selecting a developer signals a key step forward for this major regeneration project.

“A lot of progress has been made in the past year, with the help of our partners West Sussex County Council, Homes England, and Coast to Capital. We started the selection for a developer in May last year, and received interest from some very strong candidates.

“We are confident that Henry Boot Developments is the best choice to take the visions and aims of the Southern Gateway masterplan and make these a reality for the benefit of the community.”

Bob Lanzer, the county council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, welcomed the selection of a development partner, saying: “This is a big step forward. The Southern Gateway proposals are a key part of the Chichester Growth Deal and developing the site will contribute to the housing needs identified by Chichester District Council.”

The Southern Gateway area comprises of several parcels of land, including:

The bus station and depot;
Basin Road car park;
Law courts;
The former Chichester Police Station playing field;
Former high school buildings; and,
Royal Mail depot buildings.

The project aims to encourage economic growth and create new, better paid jobs by transforming this largely brownfield area. The 30-acre site will be regenerated to feature an estimated:

365 new homes;
20,600 square metres of commercial space including business and retail space and leisure and tourism facilities;
improved transport links and a focus on cycling, walking and public transport; plus,
public space enhancements and landscaping.

The project is predicted to create approximately 1,400 jobs and protect at least 200 existing jobs.

It is also a key project in the Chichester Vision, which aims to boost economic growth in Chichester City Centre. The aim is to help Chichester attract inward investment and stimulate economic growth by making the most of its heritage and culture, while also adapting to better meet the needs of residents, workers, visitors, and students. Priorities are to reduce traffic, support independent businesses and create a more diverse evening culture.

The Southern Gateway project is also part of the One Public Estate West Sussex programme, which aims to reduce revenue costs, improve public services and release land for housing and economic growth.

People can keep up to date on the Southern Gateway project by visiting www.chichester.gov.uk/southerngateway, which includes a variety of frequently asked questions on all areas of the project. People can also find updates in the council’s residents’ magazine ‘initiatives’, and on the council’s social media pages.

ENDS

Neighbourhood Plan launch to seek views

Public Launch for the Plan

A public consultation launch for the Neighbourhood Plan was made by Cllr. Richard Plowman, Mayor of Chichester on 14 October 2019 in the City’s Assembly Rooms, attended by over 100 including residents, members of the public and representatives from a number of local organisations. The presentation can be viewed here and the notes from the meeting here. The boundary of our Parish is viewable here.

Ten fundamental principles were laid down:
  1. The City declared a climate change emergency in June 2019 which must be backed by real and effective action.
  2. The City will be carbon neutral by 2030.
  3. The City Centre to be free of all fossil fuelled powered vehicles, the use of electrical vehicles to be encouraged and all deliveries to be made by electrical vehicle transport.
  4. The City to remain small and compact essentially a large historic market town in a rural setting and to position it to be a Unesco World Heritage site by 2032
  5. The City parks and green open spaces to be protected and enhanced. Re-wilding of derelict areas and use of more trees in the urban areas to produce natural wildlife corridors and public spaces such as squares throughout the City with zoning of areas with different characteristics eg retail, restaurant and evening economy.
  6. The City views are determined by the Cathedral and these views respected and all buildings to be subservient and generally no more than four stories high.
  7. The City economy needs revitalising particularly the City Centre and attracting more visitors to the City
    through Tourism, and the Meetings, Incentive and Conference industry (MICE).
  8. The City to maintain, enforce and expand areas of Conservation and preserve buildings of both historic, social cultural and architecturally.
  9. The plan to be holistic and inclusive for all people of Chichester (elderly, families, young, students, disabled and disadvantaged).
  10. The Neighbourhood Plan will be made by the People for the People of Chichester and will be part of Planning Legislation.
Aims to be achieved

The following were cited:

  1. Large international hotel of 200-250 beds (needs meeting and conference facilities)
  2. Large multi-use events/ performance/ exhibition/ conference hall
  3. Removal of level crossings and replacement with low level underpass
  4. More train and bus services to and from Chichester and metro line to Bognor Regis
    and coast
  5. Concert/ Theatre Hall up to 550 capacity (possibly the Court Building)
  6. Large Nightclub
  7. Central Medical centre
  8. New Crematorium
  9. HiTec village for graduates/millenniums near Station
  10. Zoning of areas in the City for better navigation eg North Street, East Street for Retail
    and service, Central Cross area for banks and jewellers. West Street – Cathedral and
    cultural. South street restaurant, bars and evening economy. Eastgate square and St
    Pancras village
  11. Improved public realm increased pedestrian areas and signage. Cathedral square
  12. Public square for Farmers and special markets e g Christmas/ Ice rink.
  13. Cultural trail linking Galleries and Theatre

 

GET INVOLVED

To elicit views of residents and the public an online survey is being used and can be viewed here. The survey closes at 5pm on Monday 9th December 2019

The City Council has a dedicated website page and a Facebook account to enable progress on the Plan to be followed and views to be expressed.

 

You can also add your comments to this post below

David Johnson, Chair of CPRE talks about its work at our 2019 AGM

BOGNOR IS NOW A MILE NEARER CHICHESTER THAN IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO!

Sarah Quail reports on what David Johnson, Vice Chair of the Sussex Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), had to say at Chichester Society’s AGM held 16 October 2019 in the Assembly Rooms.

Yes, we learned this startling fact about Bognor early in David Johnson’s address. I suppose we should not be particularly surprised. Acres of green field are fast disappearing round Bognor and Chichester to satisfy the insatiable demand for more housing across the country. There is no designated green belt along our coastal strip which is constrained by the South Downs National Park to the north and the sea to the south. Only green gaps prevent the coalescence of the different urban areas. These gaps are vital, David Johnson argued, for a whole number of different reasons not least our physical well-being.
CPRE works to protect, promote and enhance our towns and countryside to make them better places to live in, work and enjoy, and to ensure that the countryside is protected for now and for future generations. To these ends, the Sussex Branch is challenging housing need numbers, and the whole notion of what is actually affordable housing. It endeavors to work with local authorities on how we can all make development work without jeopardizing what we hold dear: access to greenery!

He also discussed the impact of our changing weather on the local environment and in this context touched not only on the Medmerry managed realignment scheme but also on the need to cut car journeys by 20 percent. Controversially, he asked why we are discussing new roads for Chichester? Plans for the A27, he suggested, need to be re-examined in the light of climate change exacerbated by petrol and diesel-driven internal combustion engines.

We must also build sensitively on brown field sites before we start driving earth-moving equipment onto green fields. Interestingly, he moved on to discuss the growing lack of public confidence in local authorities’ ability to implement a planning framework now generally regarded as faulty in the light of climate change. De-growth, he argued, was what was required now not more growth.

A Chichester branch of CPRE Sussex has been established recently and details of how to join can be found on their website at www.cpresussex.org.uk. The purpose of CPRE Sussex is to shape the future of this county in a positive way. It is keen, David Johnson said, to be both a town and country organization and it is indeed in all our interests that they take forward these ambitions and continue to campaign on the environmental impact of development across this region.

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)