Priory Park: loved and cherished, yet vulnerable

Priory Park - Cricket
Cricket – played on Priory Park since 1871

The Reverand Bruce Ruddock, Chairman of Priory Park Society, reflects on the care and use of a treasured community asset in the June 2023 Newsletter.

He points out a glaring need to restore or rebuild some of the park’s dilapidated buildings:

• Red brick pavilion – Chichester District Council (CDC) has spent tens of thousands of pounds reviewing its future, but rats remain its only visitors.
• Cricket pavilion – as long ago as 1977 plans were submitted for a new
pavilion: the existing ‘White Pavilion’ is now unsafe and not fit for purpose.
• Bowls pavilion – a refurbished or extended bowls pavilion would enable club members to entertain their opposition guests in ways that are at present impossible.
• The Motte – money spent in recent years has been wasted by failing to provide adequate protection and not allowing the ground repairs time to bed in, so that the ‘open wounds’ in the form of cycle and sliding tracks down its sides are worse than ever.
• Play area – there is a clear recognition that the play area needs enhancement, not just by replacing equipment.

New management?
It has often been suggested that the management of Priory Park should be transferred from CDC to the City Council.  I have not sensed any great appetite for this idea, but
maybe our new district councillors will drive it forward.  Should PrioryPark be managed by a CharitableTrust along the lines of the originalPriory Park Society in 1850?  (Without
of course the exclusivity of thefamous subscribers’ keys).  Whateverthe future, the urgent need is forproper security, joined-up thinking and a cohesive and bigger visionin the corridors of power.  Those of us who use the park value its beauty and tranquillity and love
seeing people enjoying themselves.

The Duke of Richmond gave the park as a memorial to t he fallenin the First World War and as a place of recreation for the people of Chichester.  As such, it deserves our respect and the Priory ParkSociety will continue to support this wonderful space in any way we can.
I encourage readers to come and join us.

See the June 2023 Newsletter for the full article.