Chichester Vision has been heavily criticised for its focus on students over residents.
In a letter, Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee’s (CCAAC) chairman Alan Green stated: “It is quite apparent from the outset that the ideas being put forward are heavily skewed towards the aspirations of the transient student population rather than those who actually reside here.”
In reply, a spokesperson for Chichester District Council said more than ‘1,000 individuals and 28 organisations provided input to the draft vision’. They added: “The draft vision is based on all of the findings and feedback from this work and we now want as many people as possible to comment on it.”
However, Mr Green said CCAAC members were ‘particularly critical of the manner in which the consultation is being carried out’ and, as a result, are calling for it to be extended.
“To begin with, whilst the leaflet distributed to households urges everyone to attend the Vision Exhibition Days and have their say, it fails to give the dates and venues for such exhibitions. Secondly, although the consultation period is six weeks the exhibitions were held on only four days – and all in the first week,” he said.
“Furthermore on only one of those days was the exhibition held in the city centre; on two of the others it was at the college and university, once again demonstrating that the study is being skewed towards the student population rather than residents.”
He added that at the first exhibition attendees ‘were discouraged from taking a paper questionnaire, being told that CDC wanted the replies to be electronic’, expressing his concerns that ‘many of Chichester’s older inhabitants do not have access to the internet’.
Mr Green added, in his letter addressed to the council: “The paucity of opportunities to view the exhibition could lead to the conclusion that you are hoping for a low response which could be analysed quickly and easily.”
The council spokesperson said: “Our councillors and officers have been out and about talking to various groups – including resident and business groups – in addition to organising a variety of consultation events.” It aims ‘to incorporate views from the whole community’.
But attendees at Friday’s exhibition raised concerns that the plans aren’t solid.
Paul Wreyford said: “People like to see some solutions drawn up on boards.”
The next event is on March 3 at East Pallant House.