VIDEO: New vision for '˜major civic facility' at Chichester's Southern Gateway

Ambitious plans for a '˜major civic facility' at Chichester's Southern Gateway can be revealed exclusively by the Observer.

Thursday, 10th May 2018, 12:23 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 1:10 am

Gateway+ has unveiled its concept idea for a hotel, conference centre and exhibition hall all combined with a new railway station.

The Stockbridge Road level crossing would be closed, while a road bridge would be built over the Basin Road crossing.

An underpass in Avenue de Chartres would link a large public square north of the station with South Street.

Concept layout of the Southern Gateway area

The group has labelled Chichester District Council’s masterplan for the area, stretching from the law courts to Canal Wharf and approved in November 2017, uninspiring.

Geoff Thorpe, an Arundel-based master planner and architect, said: “This has got to be something the city wants, the city loves and the city appreciates.”

He added: “We believe that this is the time to take this major opportunity afforded by a gateway.

“If we simply leave the gateway site to be a series of traffic improvements and various minor building initiatives we are wasting our time.”

Concept design for Southern gateway showing new bridge over Basin Road meeting Avenue De Chartres, a public square, and railway station combined with hotel, conference centre and exhibition hall, also including a new bus station

The design and layout proposed is not intended to be the final scheme or a pitch by the consortium to run the entire project but merely to act as a ‘provocative catalyst’ for discussion.

Mr Thorpe, who has been involved in redevelopment projects in Budapest, Tel Aviv and Belgrade, suggested the design of a new ‘major civic facility’ should be the subject of an international competition.

As part of its initial ideas a new bus station would be provided under the new building’s canopy, while the railway station concourse and booking hall, alongside some retail units, would be accessed via ramps.

Meanwhile a second public square would be created on the southern side of the station.

Gateway+ consortium members Richard Plowman, Brian Raincock and Geoff Thorpe unveil their vision for Chichester's Southern Gateway

Plans also include a 500 to 600 space car park to be built on the bus depot site on the eastern side of Basin Road.

The ‘premier’ hotel could have around 100 beds, while a 4,000-seat auditorium would be included in the conference centre.

The group is calling on residents and businesses to have their say.

To give ideas, feedback and support or to receive more information on the proposals, email Gateway+ here.