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CHICHESTER residents love their city – but there is a distrust of authorities and a sense of ‘powerlessness’ among residents, according to a survey carried out on behalf of Chichester City Council.

CHICHESTER residents love their city – but there is a distrust of authorities and a sense of ‘powerlessness’ Chichester residents, according to a survey carried out on behalf of Chichester City Council.

An aerial  view of Chichester

An aerial view of Chichester

This week, public consultation ends on the district council’s draft 
local plan.

As part of its research, the city council arranged for the Chichester Community Assets Project 2013 to be carried out.

It began in October, 2012, and was undertaken following a request from city councillor Richard Plowman.

In the background to the study, it noted its primary objective was to: “Identify what the citizens of Chichester value about their own immediate area, about the city and its setting and what improvements they think should be made to the city.”

Chichester Festival Theatre

Chichester Festival Theatre

In addition, it also isolated aspects planners should be aware of when looking to 
the future.

The project was a complement to an additional study carried out by Hyland Edgar Driver – a landscape architect and urban design company.

An introduction notes the material should not be presented as a ‘highly structured or objective analysis’ of residents’ views, as an advanced statistical methodology was not used and a lot of the participants were self-selecting.

However, the outcome of the survey is one of the aspects the city council is considering in its draft local plan response – so has been ascribed a certain weight.

The Novium, Chichester

The Novium, Chichester

The study noted that Chichester College and the University were both contacted, but no responses were received.

The survey has broken down the city into general responses, the city centre, Whyke, Summersdale, Parklands, Southern Gateway and the East Centre.

In its conclusion, it notes the ‘overwhelming conclusion’ that Chichester residents have valued the compact and friendly nature of the city.

It added: “Will the proposals in the emerging local plan threaten the compact character of the city?

A view of the Cathedral from Bishop's Palace Gardens

A view of the Cathedral from Bishop's Palace Gardens

“They almost certainly will but that compact nature has already been compromised.

“The 1960s and 1970s developments at Whyke, Parklands and Summersdale had already destroyed the truly compact nature of the original city. Yet the perception of a compact city remains.”

POSITIVE ASPECTS OF THE CITY

Compact, walkable, friendly 139

General open-space provision 54

Proximity to the Downs 50

Proximity to the coast 43

Provision of trees generally 33

Good rail and bus connections and proximity to regional facilities 29

Sign post of cathedral 23

St Richard’s Hospital 15

The Festivities 14

Friendly people 9

The schools 9

The allotments 7

Role of churches 7

The university 5

The college 4

Support for the elderly 4

The jazz festival 4

20mph 4

PREFERRED LOCATIONS IN CHICHESTER

Chichester Festival Theatre58

Bishop’s Palace Gardens52

Chichester Cathedral47

Pallant House Gallery35

New Park 30

Priory Park25

Florence Road allotments15

The Novium 14

St Richard’s Hospital14

Parklands’ shops 14

Brandy Hole Copse 14

Summersdale shop 11

NB - all locations that received ten or fewer votes were not included.

THE STUDY concluded respondents saw Chichester as a ‘compact and friendly city’, which should be ‘enhanced and maintained’.

Across the survey, the compact and friendly nature of the city received the highest level of support, with 41 per cent backing it as a major positive.

The cathedral was rated as one of the most highly-valued points of the city.

While none of the developments would in any way compromise the cathedral, the study also concluded care should be taken the developments did not compromise views of
the city.

Thirdly, it was decided some structures needed to be established to co-ordinate the provision of infrastructure and new development.

That mechanism should have the ability to stop development if infrastructure provision gets out of step with new development.

This followed concerns that were raised in the survey about the capacity of existing roads, sewers and health service to cope with new 
development.

The study concluded authorities seemed well aware of the concern, however, it added: “What appears to be lacking is a trust that the fragmented character of agencies involved in infrastructure provision are capable of delivering what is needed and that 
other demands will allow development to take place ahead of the necessary infrastructure.”

The study also finished by calling for a more open attitude to be developed by officers and members at all levels and in all authorities.

“Much of what people have said seems to stem from a fear of the new, a distrust of authorities and a feeling of powerlessness,” said 
the study.

THE NOVIUM

The Novium museum appeared to divide opinion, with it featuring high on the list of liked locations in the city. However, it also came out top of the most disliked items – with the main complaint it was ‘too costly’.

The most disliked location was listed as being the bus station, in Southgate.

The survey also flagged up what it called a ‘major concern’ at the station, namely the timing of the level crossing gates.