Chichester ice rink should not be in Priory Park

C111843-1 Chi Park phot kate''Priory Park.C111843-1 ENGSNL00120111123115024
C111843-1 Chi Park phot kate''Priory Park.C111843-1 ENGSNL00120111123115024

The concept of an ice rink in Chichester is fine – only if it sited in an appropriate location. Despite very substantive objections and minimal time to respond, the District Council Planning Committee gave the promoter provisional approval with the Chairman’s casting vote for it to be installed in Priory Park, which is an entirely unsuitable venue for it.

The proposed ice rink and all the seven festive food and drink concessions would occupy the historic Park for over two months and cover almost a quarter of the park. The impact of this and the reduction of light as well as the weight of the rink will kill the grass and require re-seeding and time to allow for regrowth which effectively would mean the vast area would be out of bounds for users until the spring and summer months. This would be far too long.

Priory Park lies in the centre of a residential area overlooked by many historic homes. We have not seen any undertakings by the promoter to confirm that the constant night-time noise levels (24 hour generators) will be controlled to an acceptable level. I have not seen any plans for robust policing of Priory Park between the normal hours of closing at dusk each day. Who would be footing this bill? The closing times of the ice rink range between 8pm to 10pm each evening and Christmas eve till 11.30 and 1am on New Year’s Day. After the most distressing brawl following last weekend’s Octoberfest CDC must take note of the likely impact of alcohol and food sales. Parking is already a significant issue in the area and thousands of visitors could cause gridlock.

Most importantly Priory Park houses significant heritage assets. Most regrettably there have been incidents of vandalism in the Park under cover of darkness, and serious damage to the coadestone statue whose repair costs will amount to many thousands of pounds.

In the planning application the ice rink promoter S3K states that it has been discussing the proposed ice rink with Chichester District Council for two years. It is most troubling therefore for residents to be presented with a planning process that gave them 21 days in which to learn about and to study the applicant’s plans, which have been frequently amended through the 21-day representation period, and then to find inconsistencies in the documents presented to the Planning Committee last Wednesday.

It is extremely odd that it is being rushed through without the usual consultation timelines to suit the promoter. Given the significant environmental, security and noise issues arising from the use of Priory Park I ask that the Planning Committee gives permission to an alternative space such as Oaklands and not Priory Park. These plans are causing considerable distress to a great number of local residents.

Mrs S Powell, 6 Lion Street, Chichester