LETTER: Pushing the needs of local residents doesn’t make you a NIMBY

FOLLOWING a letter published in your issue of January 28th, I felt the need to respond.

I write as both a member of the ‘Chichester Deserves Better’ campaign and as a local resident and business owner.

Firstly, I must address the accusations raised in the letter from Christopher Page regarding their ‘Best4Chicheter’ campaign in which they accuse ‘Chichester Deserves Better’ of having ‘wealthy backers’. Indeed on their website they also state again that we are well-resourced, a suggestion that we are funded by a wealthy business or individual. There is also a new social media campaign suggesting we are NIMBYs – I wanted therefore to set the record straight.

Chichester Deserves Better is a group of individuals from villages both to the north and south of Chichester who genuinely want an improved the A27 for locals and not a strategic route that will damage our back yard.

When I say our back yard, I mean that of the whole Chichester district. The Downs and the National Park to the north is something we should all cherish, and so accusations of NIMBYism are simply not correct.

This is evident from our petition which has a significant amount of support from those living on the Manhood peninsula and wider area.

Chichester Deserves Better is a group of passionate individuals who have no more resources than our own passion and hard work. We are not wealthy individuals, nor are we funded by one.

These accusations do nothing but make this a north vs south issue – something we have wanted to make it.

The enemy here, if there is one, is the bureaucratic process of the planning system that heavily favours strategic through traffic over the needs of local residents and businesses. Please don’t polarise views, there is much we can gain by sharing our passion for what is best for all residents.

For years, WSCC have failed to get grips with the upgrade of the online route despite every report that we can lay our hands on recommending that approach.

Such lack of any progress is totally unacceptable to Cicestrians and has been instrumental in creating the current situation. There is now the real opportunity with central government funding to realise this upgrade work and not to incur more years of inertia.

We have already written to the ‘Best4Chicheter’ campaign requesting the chance to meet, for them to find out who we really are and why we are so passionately campaigning for the best long-term solution for all local residents.

I would therefore repeat this request as I am sure we have much common ground and are more powerful together to push for what really is best for Chichester.

Ben Kirk

Hunters Race

West Lavant