Resident’s of Chichester’s ‘eco-town’ can’t ditch cars

A plea has been made for developers of Chichester’s planned ‘eco-town’ to remember the motorist – and not try to force residents to ditch their cars.

Efforts to encourage people to switch to bus, bike and footpaths as part of the Graylingwell Park development plans have been welcomed by a Chichester body.

But it said cars would still be needed.

Chairman of the Chichester Society Tony Dignum said while it was good to help encourage people to use other modes of transport, there was no getting away from the fact people would be using cars.

“The issue is you have to be realistic,” said Mr Dignum.

“If people are living that far from the city centre and having to work elsewhere, they will need cars.

“You can make improvements on the margin and have say cycling, and you have to have regular bus route. By improving people’s choices you can get some sort of modal shift, but it will only be at the margins.”

Mr Dignum said work patterns, which included people commuting to places such as Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton and Crawley, meant people would need to use their cars.

Linden Homes has just submitted outline plans for 51 properties on an area to the east of Graylingwell, just below what will be called Kingsmead Avenue, to the north of the Swanfield Park estate.

The area, which will be characterised by grassy areas dubbed ‘green fingers’, will include 12 one-bedroom flats, 26 three-bedroom homes of varying sizes and 13 four-bedroom homes.

While Linden Homes has put into place a comprehensive package of measures to help people switch to greener modes of transport, concerns about parking provision and traffic flow were expressed by both residents and members of the Chichester Society.

This area will include 78 car-parking spaces, lower than the 86 preferred by West Sussex County Council and more than the 66 which Linden Homes said was part of the ‘Graylingwell principle’.

The spaces, which equate to 1.5 per household, will be provided in parking courts in front of people’s properties.

Overall, Mr Dignum said the society had no general objection to the plans, but would examine the details more closely.

The developers said the aim was to ‘influence the travel behaviour of residents, employees and visitors’ to the site and reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles travelling to and from the site.

A number of measures have been introduced to direct people to other transport. These include home visits by a travel plan co-ordinator who will be available to devise personalised journey plans for residents and employees and will also carry out a survey to establish the travel patterns of residents.

Pool bikes and cycle training will be available while a car club and car-share database will also be set up.

For details the planning application number is 10/05597/OUT.