New political party promises an ‘independent voice’ for Chichester and its harbour

A new political party has launched promising an ‘independent voice’ for Chichester and its harbour.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 10:24 am
Founders of Chichester and Harbour Independents left to right: Martyn Bell, Mike Dicker, Louise Goldsmith, Greg Fielder and Chris Page

The scale of development proposed in the area coupled with the lack of infrastructure in key areas such as roads and wastewater has been a common concern raised repeatedly by residents and various organisations.

Today (Tuesday October 5), a new political party, Chichester and Harbour Independents (CHI), has launched.

Amongst its founders are Louise Goldsmith, previously leader of West Sussex County Council, Martyn Bell and Chris Page, who are both Chichester district councillors, alongside Mike Dicker, a parish councillor for East Wittering and Bracklesham Bay and Greg Fielder, who recently stood as an independent at the recent WSCC election.

They believe the many concerns voiced by the Chichester and harbour communities are ‘simply not being heard by the major parties’.

A spokesperson said: “Residents are desperately worried about the number of homes being imposed by the Central Government on this unique area. The very fabric of our famous historic city and the iconic Chichester Harbour are under threat and the area will change to become unrecognisable in the future.”

They go on to say that despite accepted inadequacies of the sewage system, major and local roads and damage to the harbour’s unique environment, planning applications are still being submitted.

CHI stands for: a halt on new housebuilding in the area, ensuring voices in the community are heard through greater engagement, improvements to the environment, careful management of taxpayers’ money, protection of our rich local heritage, effective adequate sewage and drainage systems, a permanent solution to the chaos on the A27 as well as better roads, walking and cycle infrastructure.

Cllr Bell said although just launched they were ‘delighted’ by the growing interest in CHI, adding: “From comments we have heard people really want a local independent voice for the area. We are not a traditional political party and we will seek alliances with other appropriate groups to serve our communities and meet their needs.”

To find out more about CHI email [email protected]

Adrian Moss, leader of the Lib Dem group at CDC, said: “The Liberal Democrats have worked tirelessly to oppose the policy drift and environmental destruction raised by this group.

“It is ironic that they attack all the main parties given that several of their councillors were card-carrying Conservatives for much of this time, voting to shield the administration from fair criticism and against constructive proposals to address the very complaints they make belatedly now.

“Our members have pushed relentlessly for CDC and our MP to start engaging properly with Southern Water over their frequent dreadful sewage discharges and capacity failures. We have pushed the Council hard to be far more ambitious on climate change and habitat protection.

“We welcome their recognition of the Tories’ failures over the Local Plan and Southern Gateway, but we Lib Dems are proud of our record of listening to residents and fighting on their behalf.”