A fairer, greener community?

Residents living down the western end of Westgate are well aware of the planning application to build student accommodation on the patch of derelict land south of the railway line, just by the new foot and cycle bridge and the Tesco petrol station.

You can consult the Design and Access statement for this application at https://publicaccess.chichester.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=NZHT4BERGC400 (where it is listed as published 17-Dec-15).

The plans are proving impossible to decipher which makes this application confusing.

The council asked the developer for more plans as the revised versions were incomplete with no front elevation schematics. The recently substituted ‘Elevation’ drawings, which appear to be a mixture of elevations and sections, do not appear to include a true West elevation – i.e. the main street elevation of the larger block to Fishbourne Road East and the most visible when approaching from the west. The 19-Jan-16 published Elevation Plans are marked ‘Plan – Superseded’.

These plans show no perspective nor proportion compared to the surroundings, which some feel could be a deliberate move in order to hide it’s enormous mass. There appears to be no plan or artist’s impression which shows the proposed buildings in the street context, with the adjacent Network Rail bridge, trees, houses and perhaps the odd pedestrian/car/cyclist included for scale. This would be extremely helpful for the applicant to demonstrate how the proposals will fit into the street scene.

There were some new graphics flashed around the room at the public consultation held on Weds 19th February showing that the roofline has changed from totally flat to dormers. With this change, the developers have now sneakily raised the height to 18.5 metres high (another 4 metres added) . This is twice the height of any of the  surrounding buildings, and almost 3 times the height of the footbridge. The building is totally overshadowing everything around it, a situation that is even more exacerbated by it being built right up to the road edge.

Finally, a big question remains concerning what risk assessments have been undertaken regarding the juxtaposition of the proposed use and siting of 153 student residents plus management staff with the adjacent petrol filling station. Where is the suitably safe, available and appropriate fire evacuation assembly point for this number of people?

And no one believes that this will be a car-free development now that the target age groups for the development has changed  from 18 plus to 21 plus. No cars with 153 residents over 21, and where are they going to park?

One to watch!

With thanks to Paula Chatfield of Parklands RA for the content of this post.

Colin Hicks

Site Admin - Westgate Residents' Association Chichester

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