Delight as Chichester school granted permission to replace fire damaged pavilion

A football club, which had been left with nothing after a devastating arson attack, can now look forward to the future after the approval of an application to replace its vital pavilion.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 5:45 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 5:46 pm

Revised plans to rebuild the fire damaged pavilion at The Prebendal School, in West Street, were approved in May.

The initial application, which requested permisson to build a 'larger, more purposeful pavilion' on the other side of the playing field, was refused by Chichester District Council in August last year.

The new application sought permisson to locate the new pavilion in the same location as the existing building.

Chichester's oldest youth football team, Whyke United, will benefit from the approval of the application
Chichester's oldest youth football team, Whyke United, will benefit from the approval of the application

Chichester's oldest youth football team, Whyke United, used the pavilion to store goals, footballs, training poles and other equipment which were all destroyed in the blaze. Three days after the fire, thieves stolen from the devastated football team.

Despair has now turned to delight after the rebuild plans were finally given the green light.

Vicky Tucker, who helps run Whyke United with her husband Martin, said the club is 'very excited', adding: "We have been waiting for this news for a long time and are really looking forward to taking the club to the next stage.

"It's been a very difficult couple of years for the club with the fire two years ago and then the impact of Covid having a massive effect on being able to provide football for so many.

The club has been able to purchase new goals and have replaced much of the equipment and kit lost in the fire

"However this news couldn't have come at a better time as football resumes the summer tournament all ready to go at the beginning of July and the club really feel its moving forward.

"The club has grown in number and strength and as we always stated the phoenix would rise from the ashes and this club certainly has done this."

The school had hoped to relocate the historic former pavilion, which was razed to the ground by arsonists in March 2019.

If it had been approved, the new pavilion would have been 8.6m high, compared to the 3.5m height of the old one, and would have sat 8m from the Avenue De Chartres.

The school had hoped to relocate the historic former pavilion, which was razed to the ground by arsonists in March 2019

These plans were refused unanimously due to concerns about the harm the new building would cause to the character of the Conservation Area.

Louise Salmond Smith, headteacher at The Prebendal School, said: "We are delighted to have been granted full planning permission to replace our old pavilion in our 900th year since the school’s foundation.

"The Prebendal playing fields are such an important part of the city centre and a focal point for all sorts of sporting activities.

"The new, improved pavilion will give us a wonderful opportunity to share our excellent sporting facilities with the wider community once again.

"We are immensely proud of our partnership with Whyke United and look forward to their members being able to make use of what will be a marvellous resource for the next generation of sportsmen and women.

"We are most grateful to the efforts of Angus Eitel and his team at 50.8 Architecture."

Vicky said it is a 'great opportunity' for Whyke United.

"We are looking forward continuing to be the bright orange football team of Chichester," she said.

"Over the past two years, the club with help from the football foundation have been able to purchase new goals and have replaced much of the equipment and kit lost in the fire.

"The fundraising efforts don't stop there though as now the permisson has been granted as a club we are looking to kit out some of the new pavilion alongside the school to really make it our home including fitting out the tea rooms which was very popular before the fire."