Chichester District Council has selected its preferred development partner, Henry Boot Developments, to deliver the Southern Gateway regeneration project. There has been a delay in the developer publishing their proposal for the Redevelopment and this has provided the opportunity for the Society to bring to their attention “The Height Limited Underpass “, proposed by the Society as a solution to the level crossing problem which blights the Southern Gateway.
This they did in a letter to the developer on 22 June in which they noted that Chichester District Council had concluded with their Regeneration Master-Plan that there was nothing that could be done to remove the crossings despite the public response in the consultation, and in other surveys, that the crossings should be removed.
The letter also referred to the Society’s disappointment at Chichester District Council’s handling of the consultation process as expressed in the Society’s March 2018 Newsletter in the article “Consult, then carry on regardless”. They also referred the developer to 3 articles -”Southern Gateway- A Better Solution”, “A Height Limited Underpass” and “Introducing The Forum Quarter” (the Gateway+ proposal which the Society supported) in the December 2018 issue.
The Society urged the developer, the District Council, West Sussex Council and Network Rail to take this ultimate opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past.
More details of the proposed underpass can be found on this website here
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!
Since then the Gateway+ proposals have been honed to the outline plans we have today.
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.
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)
Caroline Bullen reports on the day members of The Chichester Society visited the new Selsey onshore Lifeboat Station on 26th June 2019.
As everyone assembled outside the station, the weather conditions were much more favourable than the previous visit in rain and high winds shortly before the old station was demolished, in 2016.
The visit was scheduled for 11am, but upon arrival we were told that the all-weather Shannon class lifeboat named ‘Denise and Eric’ had been launched for a training exercise.
So it was decided to have the indoor presentation until the boat returned. News then suddenly came through that the lifeboat was in fact on it’s way back, so everyone returned to the launch area. As it happened, this was a great opportunity to see ‘Denise and Eric’ being beached on to the shingle, ready to be skilfully manoeuvred by the impressive recovery system team. A great photo opportunity!
The Launch Recovery System was initiated to haul the boat onto the tractor unit and return it to base. Mike Cole, the Station Education and Visits Officer then invited members back inside the station building to give a detailed account and presentation of the new Shannon AWL 13-20 and a D class inshore lifeboat (ILB D-827 ‘Flt Lt John Buckley RAF).
Joined by Colin, whose task is to ensure the boat gets safely ‘in and out’ of the sea, members then had the opportunity to ask questions.
Launched from the beach, the 18 tonne, ‘self righting’ Shannon lifeboat, performs better the faster it goes. Fuel is specially delivered to the station by a road tanker to fill the Shannon’s 5,000 litre fuel tank. Costing £2.2 million, the Shannon, whose engine is completely waterproof, does 2 nautical miles to one gallon of fuel.
Shock absorbing seats further protect the 6 crew from impact when pounding through the waves. Of the 34 at the station, 32 are volunteers. A mechanic is on site and daily and monthly checks are made as well as an annual review. At one time, all volunteers were fishermen, today however, they number only 4.
The 37 tonne, tractor Launch Recovery System, ‘Miss Eileen Beryl Phillips,’ costing £1.5 million is designed and manufactured at Clayton Engineering in Knighton, Powys, Wales. Designed for the Shannon class lifeboats, it revolutionises the way lives are saved at sea. It can tow boats up steep, shingle beaches and can be driven straight into big surf and safely launch the boat in up to 2.4m of water. In the event of a breakdown with an incoming tide, the water-tight tractor can be completely submerged in depths up to 9 m before being retrieved once the tide is receded in complete working order.
Once recovered from the beach, bow first, a unique turntable cradle rotates the Shannon 180 degrees ready for her next launch. Larger windows and CCTV give volunteer tractor drivers better visibility. A hydraulic system means that the height of the whole rig can be reduced to fit inside the boathouses. The reduced time of launching with such an impressive system, certainly makes a difference.
It is far from those days back in 1861 when it all began with a double-banked lifeboat, 35 feet long and using 12 oars which was transported from Chichester. The boat, costing £180 was presented to the institution by members of the Society of Friends.
Members were interested in seeing old photographs of the encroachment of the sea and its impact upon the position of the station over time.
With it’s 155 year history, the Crew have been presented with 10 awards for gallantry. Their dedication and bravery in saving lives is phenomenal and in the words of Mike Cole, they are all one big ‘happy family.’
Visit over, members made their way over to a pre-booked lunch at the Lifeboat Inn – an opportunity to chat and reflect upon on a noteworthy charity who provides a 24 hour lifeboat search and rescue service to save lives at sea.
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.
There is a feasible option for alleviating the Chichester level crossing
misery. The Basin Road Low Headroom Underpass.
The Council’s Southern Gateway Regeneration Masterplan dismissed
the provision of a bridge over the railway as too costly and disruptive.
The Basin Road Low Headroom Underpass could accommodate
over 90% of road traffic with a 2.7 metre headroom including for15
seat minibuses and many vans. With a 1.3 metre construction for the
railway support, the resulting 4 metre underpass depth can be
achieved with relatively short 60 metre ramps at a reasonable 1 in 15
gradient. These ramps can be accommodated, north of the Kingsham
Road junction and south of the extended Avenue de Chartres junction.
In the context of the Southern Gateway Masterplan the Stockbridge
Road level crossing could serve buses, cyclists, mobility scooter users
and pedestrians preferring an “at grade” crossing. Lorry access to the
City Centre is restricted by the Council’s Traffic Plan and a height
warning would be implemented. Low headroom underpasses are an
accepted mode here and in Europe.
This solution would also fit with the exciting Gateway + Plan featured
in the July 25 presentation at Pallant House Gallery and has been accepted into their vision. Of all proposals to unlock the level crossing conundrum, this option
could work. Chichester District Council, are urged to give this idea due
consideration, this is a once in a lifetime chance for a solution to the
level crossing embarrassment.
This is the result of damage caused by a brewery lorry backing down from North Pallant at the end of September.
When queried via our Twitter account about the lack of a protective bollard West Sussex Highways replied ‘The bollards that are currently in place are historical and unlikely to be replaced if damaged. Bollard replacements are subject to prioritisation (Based on safety needs) and budgetary constraints. West Pallant junction does not provide enough footway space to install a bollard and allow pedestrian access ie: pushchair, wheelchair users‘.
Some existing bollards are shown below:
The bollard at the top of Theatre Lane is at the exit end of a one way street, so lorries can’t back down and it is very unlikely that an exiting vehicle could damage the adjoining building.
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