Chichester school’s replacement sports pavilion turned down

Plans to rebuild a school pavilion which was razed to the ground by arsonists have been refused by Chichester District Council.

Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 1:33 pm
The burnt out remains of the former pavilion

The 53-year-old pavilion, which was owned by The Prebendal School, was destroyed in March last year and the school had hoped to build a bigger one on the other side of the playing field.

But, with concerns raised about the harm the new building would cause to the character of the Conservation Area, members of the planning committee voted to refuse the application.

In a statement to the committee today (Wednesday August 12), Alan Green, chairman of the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee, said: “Whilst we accept the need to replace the burnt-out pavilion, this proposal would provide the wrong building in the wrong location.

Proposed new pavilion

“It is too large both in footprint and in height and its utilitarian design would be detrimental to both the Conservation Area and the setting of the City Walls, the latter a scheduled ancient monument.”

If it had been approved, the new pavilion would have been 8.6m high, compared to the 3.5m height of the old one, and would have sat 8m from the Avenue De Chartres.

A spokesman for the school said: “We at the school are extremely aware of the sensitive location of the site and are determined to provide an attractive and appropriately designed pavilion that naturally fits within its surroundings.”

He pointed out that the old pavilion had no mains electricity and it would easier to connect to the grid from closer to the road.

But, while there was plenty of sympathy for the school’s predicament, that argument held no water with committee members.

Graeme Barrett (Con, The Witterings) said: “I personally can’t see what is wrong with just replacing the damaged building at [its current] location.

“It’s not a very good excuse to say you can’t get electricity to it easily. I’d say put the building back where it was.”

Regarding the school’s concerns that the old pavilion had fallen foul of vandalism and graffiti, Mr Barrett said: “Once you’ve got electricity in the building, you can put up CCTV and effectively safeguard the building.”

The application was refused unanimously.

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