CHICHESTER residents love their city – but there is a distrust of authorities and a sense of ‘powerlessness’ among residents, according to a survey carried out on behalf of Chichester City Council.
CHICHESTER residents love their city – but there is a distrust of authorities and a sense of ‘powerlessness’ Chichester residents, according to a survey carried out on behalf of Chichester City Council.
This week, public consultation ends on the district council’s draft local plan.
As part of its research, the city council arranged for the Chichester Community Assets Project 2013 to be carried out.
It began in October, 2012, and was undertaken following a request from city councillor Richard Plowman.
In the background to the study, it noted its primary objective was to: “Identify what the citizens of Chichester value about their own immediate area, about the city and its setting and what improvements they think should be made to the city.”
In addition, it also isolated aspects planners should be aware of when looking to the future.
The project was a complement to an additional study carried out by Hyland Edgar Driver – a landscape architect and urban design company.
An introduction notes the material should not be presented as a ‘highly structured or objective analysis’ of residents’ views, as an advanced statistical methodology was not used and a lot of the participants were self-selecting.
However, the outcome of the survey is one of the aspects the city council is considering in its draft local plan response – so has been ascribed a certain weight.
The study noted that Chichester College and the University were both contacted, but no responses were received.
The survey has broken down the city into general responses, the city centre, Whyke, Summersdale, Parklands, Southern Gateway and the East Centre.
In its conclusion, it notes the ‘overwhelming conclusion’ that Chichester residents have valued the compact and friendly nature of the city.
It added: “Will the proposals in the emerging local plan threaten the compact character of the city?
“They almost certainly will but that compact nature has already been compromised.
“The 1960s and 1970s developments at Whyke, Parklands and Summersdale had already destroyed the truly compact nature of the original city. Yet the perception of a compact city remains.”
POSITIVE ASPECTS OF THE CITY
Compact, walkable, friendly 139
General open-space provision 54
Proximity to the Downs 50
Proximity to the coast 43
Provision of trees generally 33
Good rail and bus connections and proximity to regional facilities 29
Sign post of cathedral 23
St Richard’s Hospital 15
The Festivities 14
Friendly people 9
The schools 9
The allotments 7
Role of churches 7
The university 5
The college 4
Support for the elderly 4
The jazz festival 4
PREFERRED LOCATIONS IN CHICHESTER
Chichester Festival Theatre58
Bishop’s Palace Gardens52
Pallant House Gallery35
New Park 30
Florence Road allotments15
The Novium 14
St Richard’s Hospital14
Parklands’ shops 14
Brandy Hole Copse 14
Summersdale shop 11
NB - all locations that received ten or fewer votes were not included.
THE STUDY concluded respondents saw Chichester as a ‘compact and friendly city’, which should be ‘enhanced and maintained’.
Across the survey, the compact and friendly nature of the city received the highest level of support, with 41 per cent backing it as a major positive.
The cathedral was rated as one of the most highly-valued points of the city.
While none of the developments would in any way compromise the cathedral, the study also concluded care should be taken the developments did not compromise views of the city.
Thirdly, it was decided some structures needed to be established to co-ordinate the provision of infrastructure and new development.
That mechanism should have the ability to stop development if infrastructure provision gets out of step with new development.
This followed concerns that were raised in the survey about the capacity of existing roads, sewers and health service to cope with new development.
The study concluded authorities seemed well aware of the concern, however, it added: “What appears to be lacking is a trust that the fragmented character of agencies involved in infrastructure provision are capable of delivering what is needed and that other demands will allow development to take place ahead of the necessary infrastructure.”
The study also finished by calling for a more open attitude to be developed by officers and members at all levels and in all authorities.
“Much of what people have said seems to stem from a fear of the new, a distrust of authorities and a feeling of powerlessness,” said the study.
The Novium museum appeared to divide opinion, with it featuring high on the list of liked locations in the city. However, it also came out top of the most disliked items – with the main complaint it was ‘too costly’.
The most disliked location was listed as being the bus station, in Southgate.
The survey also flagged up what it called a ‘major concern’ at the station, namely the timing of the level crossing gates.