Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour: Friends are active supporters of the whole harbour

The Friends of Chichester Harbour was set up 30 years ago and works to protect the Harbour for future generations.

It is a registered charity with more than 3,000 members, who have a hands-on approach to preserving and improving the unique beauty of the Harbour.

A Friends of Chichester Harbour working party carrying out litter picking and enjoying the glorious views they wish to protect. Picture (C): Paul Adams

A Friends of Chichester Harbour working party carrying out litter picking and enjoying the glorious views they wish to protect. Picture (C): Paul Adams

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Membership is spread across the area and made up of a variety of people – walkers, sailors, nature enthusiasts, fishermen, wildfowlers, residents, visitors, businesses and groups.

Oliver Chipperfield, chairman, is keen for them to be involved in the Observer’s Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour campaign and wants people to realise they do have a voice.

“I don’t want to be an activist organisation, I want us to be active,” he explained.

“I would like this to be a catalyst for people to realise we as a body work with all the key organisations.

“We understand there has to be development but we don’t accept the parameters are right. We think our elected councillors could be much more aggressive and assertive to protect certain areas.”

The Friends have no statutory powers and do not generally object to individual applications but the group did get involved in the campaign against a controversial scheme for West Wittering cafe back in 2016.

Oliver added: “We as an organisation work very hard to try to maintain and improve our area. We are not against development but we want it done sensibly.

“Fishbourne is an example of ribbon development. It is a good example of what people are worried about, low density building, which is very space inefficient.

“Developers don’t build efficiently. They use a lot of space. We need to think much more ecologically about what we are doing.

“There are a lot of brownfield opportunities and we absolutely must make the case for using all of those first.”

Oliver wants Chichester District Council to look much more carefully at sight lines and buffer zones, ensuring conditions are in place to protect them.

He said: “I do care about this. I want people to realise we are here, working and fighting. We will stand up for the major issues.

“The Friends group was set up as a place for individual people to get involved. We man working parties doing jobs such as footpath maintenance, sea defence repairs, planting, litter picking and bramble bashing. We are the one organisation where people can just give support and be involved in the whole harbour.”

To join Friends of Chichester Harbour, visit the website www.friendsch.org

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