Chichester Car Free Day 2020 plans are discussed

Campaigners behind the ambition to hold a car free day in Chichester have held an eco cinema event to kick start plans for next year.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 4:48 pm
Car free day campaigner Mark Record led a well-attended presentation and discussionat the Chichester Bassil Shippam Centre

This year’s event, due to be held on Sunday, September 22 — International Global Car Free Day — fell through because of safety concerns arising from threats of a protest from residents. Read more here

Fresh plans to hold a car free event in the city in 2020 have since been put in the pipeline and campaigner Mark Record led a well-attended presentation and discussion at the Chichester Bassil Shippam Centre last night (Monday).

Four videos were played at the meeting, showing how the scheme works in other areas, including Waltham Forest, whilst Mark also filmed interviews with the deputy headteacher of Jessie Younghusband Primary School, city businesses, local children, community and local church members.

Speaking a the meeting, Mark said: "It didn't go ahead this year because of administrative issues but we did gain a lot of support. We are hoping that we can turn this into an event that will bring people together and put on something nice for the community.

"In Chichester, we don't have enough community events and I am passionate about the idea of sustainable transport and people walking and cycling a bit more. When we spoke to the businesses, it was surprising how strong the support for the day was.

"A Sunday would be a good today to do it. This event is to talk about what we can do before we start making any plans."

City councillor Sarah Sharp is one of the other project pioneers. She said: "This project has grown and a huge amount of work went into putting on an event this year. We need to look at what other places are doing.

"We need to learn from places like Oslo or Holland. We see huge movements in making whole city centres, car free. In some places, there has been an increase in benches, water fountains, parks, play areas for children, right in the city centre.

"This project in our city is a small one but it is drawing inspiration from wider movements to make places more comfortable for people to move around. It enables people to enjoy their cities in a different way."

Residents contributed a number of ideas and the general consensus was that Chichester would benefit from starting with a small event. A popular idea was to change the name of the event to attract more people to the benefits of the idea.

Jamie Fitzjohn, West Sussex county councillor for Chichester South, attended the meeting. He advised the group that the county council would make the final decision on licensing next year and not Chichester District Council.