Tag Archives: conservation area

Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns Reports

The forthcoming September 2016 issue of the Chichester Society Newsletter includes an article by Society member Christopher Mead-Briggs entitled ‘Chichester must accommodate more housing – but how?’ In it he references the following reports which can be viewed by clicking on their titles:

Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns
by the Kenwood House Group
March 2015


Cathedral Cities in Peril
by Foster and Partners with input from English Heritage
and Terence O’Rourke MBE
18 March 2015

They can be read on screen but the best way to read the second report is to print it out because of the size of the font and the illustrative material.

Notes on the Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns Report
1. The report was written by Lord March and Terence O’Rourke MBE in March 2015 and followed an appreciation of the forecast growth of Chichester and its planned expansion. This led to a much wider review of the impact on other similar cities and towns.

2. It makes key recommendations in a succinct and readable form in a booklet of just 6 pages.

3. It followed the publication in October 2014 of a very detailed report of 178 pages produced by Richard Bate and others for English Heritage entitled “The Sustainable Growth of Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns”. That report is on the English Heritage web here.

Notes on the Cathedral Cities in Peril Report
(This pdf file presents on-screen in a sideways format which requires use of a right click of the mouse when positioned over the text of the report. Choose “rotate” to turn the text clockwise – it requires three clicks to complete the rotation.)

1. This report is an important core document written by the leading architectural practice of Foster + Partners jointly with Terence O’Rourke MBE and runs to 59 pages. It outlines the need to provide good quality housing to meet the needs of a fast growing population and recognises the attraction of our historic towns as places to live and work. They explain that the challenge will be to provide for that growth in such high quality locations without damage to their intrinsic character. It was published in March 2015.

2. The authors have considered the similarities that the English historic towns possess, many having medieval city walls, narrow streets and a large number of listed buildings. They stress the need to encourage local councils to accommodate high quality design combining constructive conservation, regeneration and infill, and the use of compulsory purchase powers where necessary to combine old with new. They suggest connecting fragmented areas lying outside the core with good public transport. They encourage community led schemes.

3. Four Cathedral Cities are considered in some detail and are compared with four cities in Europe. Conclusions are reached and then tested using Kings Lynn as the example.

4. Their six recommendations appear at the end of the report and should be read across the pages because each refers to three issues: a) the supporting national framework for each recommendation, b) the implementation barriers and c) the proposed changes to policy.

Pallants Residents Association established

Residents Associations provide a vital role in protecting and enhancing the communities which they represent. The Pallant area in Chichester is suffering from the increase in heavy traffic within the City and this article by resident and Society member Cedric Mitchell describes the birth of this new association.

(The article – along with others  – appeared in the June 2016 issue of the Chichester Society Newsletter )


The Four Pallant Streets
The Four Pallant Streets

First a bit of background. Why are the Pallants important? They are at the historic and cultural centre of Chichester. The origins of the Pallants dates back to at least the middle ages when the South East sector of the city belonged to the Church. Originally named the Palatine (from the word palatial) the name became corrupted to the Pallants and consisted of the four streets we have now.

Paving the Way to Today

 In 1578 the streets of Chichester were paved under an Act of Parliament. In the eighteenth century Chichester went through something of a renaissance and many houses in the Pallants were gentrified. Among the houses built at this time was Dodo House which was built for Henry Peckam, a wine merchant, in 1712. This is of course now the Pallant Gallery. Since then it has continued to be an area for wealthy merchants and professional people. Today probably a majority of the buildings in the Pallants are listed grade II and all four Pallants have historic paving. The Pallants are also a conservation area.

Problems with Trade Deliveries

Although not a shopping street, the Pallants are one of the things that people come to Chichester to see and the area is very much on the City guide route. In the 1970’s East Street and North Street were pedestrianised and much thought was given to servicing the shops in these streets. East Street was to be served from a back area leading off Cooper Street and a similar arrangement was put in place for North Street. Additionally deliveries to premises in these streets could easily be made out of shopping hours.

In general this has worked well, but in recent years two things have happened. Overtime working gave rise to deliveries out of hours and 40ft articulated lorries were not envisaged when the pedestrian area was born. As a result of this we now have a situation where these large lorries attempt to use the Pallants to service shops in East Street. A second problem is that ‘sat navs’ misdirect drivers thinking that there is a through route. This has resulted in 40ft articulated lorries having to make a three point turn or else reverse the length of North and South Pallant.

Not only is this upsetting for the residents (in some of the smaller properties there are bedroom windows on a level with the driver’s cab) but it results in considerable damage to the listed buildings in the street as well as causing damage to the historic paving, to say nothing of the inevitable damage to parked cars.

I brought the continuing damage caused to buildings and pavements to the attention of the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CCAAC). Alan Green, Chairman of the CCAAC wrote several strong letters to the leader of West Sussex Council.  This produced words of sympathy but no action or solutions. As a result it was suggested that the residents might see better results if complaints came from an official body.

Formation of the Residents Association

So in January 2016 an inaugural meeting of the proposed Pallants Residents Association was held at which Tony Earl agreed to Chair the Association. The other Officers (as of June 2016) are Catherine Gunn Treasurer, Rowena Daniels Secretary and myself as Vice Chairman. A further meeting held on 7 March was attended by over 40 residents at which the Officers were confirmed. Alan Green was invited to give a talk on the history of the Pallants.

Since the Residents Association was formed several successes have been achieved. Notably a meeting was held with the Transport manager of Iceland Foods (who were one of the worst offenders) which  resulted in strict instructions being given to their  drivers not to enter South Pallant. Better signage from the South Pallant car park has also been achieved.

Less successful have been negotiations with West Sussex County Council to adopt preventative measures to protect buildings and pavements. The fight goes on.

The setting up of the residents association has also had wider benefits to the streets. It has instilled a much greater sense of community and further social activities are planned for the future.
Cedric Mitchell, June 2016