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)

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