New community centre for the Whyke estate?

The Novium in Chichester's Tower Street ENGSUS00120120207130118
The Novium in Chichester's Tower Street ENGSUS00120120207130118

A NEW community centre could be built on the Whyke estate as part of ‘aspirational’ plans approved by Chichester City Council.

The relocation of Chichester’s Tourist Information Centre from The Novium museum to the council offices in North Street will also be discussed.

Both proposed projects are included in the city council’s business plan, which councillors voted to formally adopt at a special meeting last Wednesday {January 7}.

A new community centre on the Whyke estate is listed under mid and long-term plans, to be ‘completed and operational’ in the next five to ten years.

However, Cllr Pam Dignum warned that because of the collapse of the estate’s residents’ association, any such project would need to be ‘handled with sensitivity’.

Cllr Alan Chaplin agreed, adding: “I support a new community building on the Whyke estate, but it is a very divided issue.

“There are people for it, but also many, many people against it, so some work needs to be done to develop this further.”

The plan also states that discussions would take place to relocate the Tourist Information Centre.

Cllr John Rankin asked why it was included in the business plan when he said it had not previously been discussed by members.

“If we push for the Tourist Information to move to this building, then I fear it would cost more than we would like,” he said.

Cllr Michael Woolley, said: “I personally believe it would be a good thing to move the tourist information here.

“It has come to this council as a proposal which we can now discuss further.”

Cllr Richard Ploughman, chairman of the council’s finance committee, said the business plan was intentionally aspirational.

He said: “Over the years, the business plan has been a little neglected, and more reflective of what we have done rather then what we will do.”

At the same meeting, councillors also voted to adopt the budget plan for 2015/16, which sees the city council’s budget increase by 3.19 per cent, a sum of £15,570.

This will see the city council’s share of council tax rise by 0.46 per cent, with its precept from an average property moving to £48.30.