HAVE we seen the start of a public relations exercise by the University of Chichester ahead of a major expansion of sports facilities?
First a report by the Observer (November 24), reference a planned indoor sports dome on the field south of the university buildings off College Lane. This article included some comment from local councillors with reference to the industrial size of the structure, and the possible community use.
It is obvious that such an all- weather sports dome will improve facilities at the university and allow the university to increase the number of students studying sport-related degrees, more cash for the university coffers. This was followed by a letter on December 1, reporting on a meeting attended by three councillors from North Ward Chichester. The letter reminded residents how lucky they were that businesses in the area benefited massively from the presence of 5,500 students attending the university.
No mention of the noise ,litter, and general anti-social behaviour which is all part of the university scene. No mention of the blighting of residential areas ,which has occurred in other neighbouring university towns and cities, where student expansion beyond the accommodation capability available on campus has led to multiple occupancy and the resulting
strain on residential areas, which has been detrimental to all.
The vice-chancellor hoped that eventually a third of students would be accommodated at Stockbridge or on campus. Where were the others going to live?
The problem caused by students attending the campus in vehicles which cannot be accommodated on-site has led to the recent acquisition of the Oaklands Park Rugby car park. Can the university guarantee that no student accommodated in the new housing on campus or at Stockbridge Road will own and want to use a motor vehicle while at uni? Please, not more claims that students will use bicycles, walk or use university-provided buses: previous wishful thinking along these lines has not altered the public or student love affair with the motor car which is evident from our roads choked by parked motor vehicles.
In conclusion, the letter of course contained the sop to Chichester residents and the British great sporting public that this expansion would benefit them. If only we would build them better road access, then all these facilities would be available to Joe Public. No mention of existing under-used sports facilities at Chichester High School, Bishop Luffa, Westergate Leisure Centre or Chichester College or other existing commercial sports ventures.
At a time when the present world economic model of expansion and growth seems to be teetering on the precipice of collapse, the justification for change on grounds of increased expansion and financial gain has had its day. The residents of Chichester North Wards need time to assimilate the changes being brought about with the developments at Graylingwell, Roussillon Barracks, and possibly Hunters Rest, before being overwhelmed by more growth at
the university. We need to solve existing problems.