This post forms part of an occasional series of contributions from guest authors. Paula Chatfield is the indefatigable Committee Member (Publicity) for the  
Parklands Residents’ Association and the quality of her information is top class. We are very lucky to have her contribution.

You may have noticed an article about this in the Chichester Observer. For anyone interested in the use and upkeep of the field (photo above), here’s what’s happening:

1) West Sussex County Council completed its Lease of the field to Chichester City Council on 1st September. The Lease runs until at least December 2029 (when there is a break option) and provides for the field to be used and maintained as public open space for recreation.

2) Public access to the field is via the Record Office car park, where there is a designated route (this is obvious on the ground and leads you to the entry point indicated in the photo above). Access for CCC to bring in grass-cutting etc equipment for maintenance is via Central School’s playing field, by arrangement with the School.

3) CCC are now responsible for looking after the field and will be looking at litter and dog waste bin provision and undertaking routine mowing and litter picks.

4) As a result of a review by an arboriculturalist, various tree works are planned to take place in the near future (in the hope that the equipment can be brought in whilst the ground is still firm). As well as various pruning and crown lifting for the health of several trees and to let light into the understorey planting, one dead/dying alder is to be felled in a group of three trees that borders the Record Office car park and the run of Leylandii that borders Henty Gardens is also to be felled. These are the taller Leylandii; the Leylandii bordering Mercers are to be retained for the time being as these are currently of a more manageable size and to provide shelter for the starlings understood to return to roost overnight in the Leylandii now the evenings are drawing in and the weather getting colder. It is likely that these too will be felled at an appropriate time and a long-term plan put in place for re-planting the boundaries with appropriate native species for amenity and wildlife value. (The single felled ash tree is to be broken down and stacked to rot in nearby undergrowth for its habitat value.)

5) It is important to CCC that the field is used and enjoyed, so interested locals will, with their encouragement, be forming a Friends group to support this aim and explore all the different ways people might enjoy using the park and encourage as many different people to get involved and to use it as possible (including what we can do to help in the way of events, fundraising and hands-on activities/maintenance/improvement). Tim Rooth, Chair of Orchard Street and Old Somerstown Residents’ Association and Peter Roberts, Property Manager at CCC, and I (for Parklands Residents’ Association) will be putting our heads together with a few of you and coming up with some way of getting this started – please bear with us (and let us know your ideas!).

If you have any queries about CCC’s management of the space including the planned tree works, please do contact Peter at CCC, tel. 788502; Friends ideas to Tim (tel. 786950) or I (please reply to this email or tel. 07788 140698 – remember to ask me to call you back, if you pay for calls to mobiles!). And please do forward this email to anyone you know who may be interested in using the field/being part of the Friends and let me know. We would love to hear from you.

We are always looking for more contributions like this, so if you would like to send in an article and/or photographs or video about something relevant to the residents of Westgate and its side streets, then please click here and attach it. Thank you.

Colin Hicks

Site Admin - Westgate Residents' Association Chichester

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