The City Centre’s Paving must be renewed now!

It’s well over 40 years since Chichester was pedestrianised and the case for upgrading and renewing paving is overwhelming, especially as the York stone wasn’t intended for vehicles
Readers may think Council inertia is surprising. The condition of this city’s paving has been reviewed over the years but nothing occurs ‘on the ground’ except the appearance of occasional repair teams. Residents want action. We appreciate our elected representatives hesitating to commit £15.5 to £18 million for a high-quality solution – sums stated by consultants WSP on page 120 of their report published March 2021. But we reproduce here photographs of improved paving in three other town centres. If these communities can do it, why not Chichester?

Chichester city centre pavements
Chichester city centre pavements

Two reports on the condition of Chichester’s paving are relevant:

Building Design Partnership recommended in 2009 ‘The existing paving has been in place since the 1970s and … is now showing signs of wear and tear’.

WSP published their report in 2021. They begin by commenting on ‘an increasing number of complaints about the condition of the city centre pavements and an increase in trips and slips’. They conclude that ‘the quality of repairs needs to improve’ and ‘there are significant issues with unmanaged vehicle movements over areas of pavement likely to have only been designed and constructed to take pedestrian loadings …’ As mentioned above WSP think the budget for a comprehensive scheme for the Market Cross, North and East Streets could be £15.5 to £18 million. We must assume renovating South Street and West Street would be an additional cost.

The Chichester Society is not qualified to comment on technical aspects, but on the basis of our links with the community, we know Chichester’s residents expect our councils to agree a solution soon. This awareness prompted the Society to write to the County Council as highway authority.

Abbreviated – see March Newsletter for the full article, including a summary of the Chichester Society’s letter