Car free campaign launched in Chichester

Car Free campaigners. Picture contributed
Car Free campaigners. Picture contributed

A campaign aimed at reducing pollution and combating climate change was launched in Chichester on Monday (January 21).

'Car Free' plans to trial a scheme inside the city walls one Sunday a month to make the city more safe and a 'fun place to walk and cycle' by 'extending the heart of the city outwards'.

According to a campaign spokesman, campaigners see this fitting in with the aims of the Chichester Vision which was subject to public consultation and published in October 2017.

The spokesman said one of the campaigners Debbie Carter said: "I know friends who have suffered with severe breathing difficulties - we can't ignore our pollution problem. This is why I am keen to find out more about how we could start to make Chichester a cleaner place - even if we have to start with a few hours a month".

Also launched on Monday, was the campaign's logo competition.

The spokesman added: "The scheme works as a 'try before you buy' idea - a trial of a few streets for a few hours a month, to help produce permanent plans to fit in with the vision.

"The group are seeking designs for their logo . If you like designing and are inspired by car free days in Paris, Brussels, Oslo, New York or Vancouver please send in your designs to Mark Record mark.record@carfreechi.org.uk or [city councillor] Sarah Sharp s.sharp@chichestercity.gov.uk (07789 843556 or 13 Whyke Lane, Chichester) by February 4."

Councillor Sharp explained: "We need a logo to capture people's imagination. We know how much people love the pedestrianised streets and we want to build on this.

"The logo design should ideally include the city walls and highlight the need for healthier streets that will bring the community together. We know that people who rely on their cars with mobility issues and businesses will be feeling anxious about this and our first priority is to put these fears to rest and stress that people with blue badges will be given priority as well as carers.

"We want to work with BID and shop owners as the evidence from other cities is that car free places are great for businesses as they rejuvenate a city. Faced with competition from the internet and out of town shops, the city has to brand itself as a go to place which puts people and healthy living first.

"We need to put our health and clean air first - even if we only manage to do this one Sunday a year."

The campaign is holding an open meeting on Monday (January 28) at 7.30pm in Park Tavern to discuss how to develop the idea and to 'include the community as much as possible'.

Councillor Sharp added: "Lively debate is a prerequisite to changes in society, if we want to put the aspirations of the Chichester Vision into practice we need to start talking about how we use the space between our houses and our shops in a more creative way."