Car free day licence revoked due to public safety concerns

Plans for a car free day in Chichester later this month look to be off after its road closure licence was revoked by the district council.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 12:27 pm
Updated Friday, 13th September 2019, 1:27 pm
Campaigner Mark Record's car free day idea has been supported by city councillor Sarah Sharp
Campaigner Mark Record's car free day idea has been supported by city councillor Sarah Sharp

A section of South Street was due to be closed to motor vehicle traffic between 12.30 and 3.30pm on Sunday, September 22 — International Global Car Free Day. The plans, initially given the go-ahead by Chichester District Council, were made as part of campaigner Mark Record and city councillor Sarah Sharp’s vision to trial a scheme inside the city walls one Sunday a month to make the city more safe.

The road was due to be closed under a 'Playing Out order' — a concept Mark said was 'pioneered by families in Bristol' to allow streets to be closed so children can use the space made available for games and activities.

However, following threats of a protest from unhappy residents, the road closure licence has now been revoked.

Signs were put up in South Street this week informing shoppers of the car free day plans

A spokesperson for Chichester District Council said: “Unfortunately, we have had to make the difficult decision to revoke the road closure for the Chichester car free day event on South Street, which was due to take place on September 22.

"The event was linked to a national initiative that aims to give children the chance to play on the streets and spaces where they live. We would like to apologise to the event organisers, but public safety is paramount.

"Sussex Police and other partners have raised concerns about a number of public safety issues that have come to light in recent days, which relate to comments and threats made about the event.

"We understand that the event organisers are very disappointed and we have stressed that we would like to work closely with them on any future events they may wish to plan.”

The news will come as a blow to the organisers, who had thought the event would go ahead despite the protest threats after receiving positive results from a survey. The survey of South Street's businesses did, however, come after two 'emergency meetings'. Read more here

The event's organisers have been approached for comment.

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