The Whitehouse Farm Development continues to keep your Committee busy, which is why this bulletin comes to you somewhat earlier than usual. Consideration of the application for planning permission has been delayed yet again and will not be heard before the 17th August Planning Committee and possibly not until 14th September. This application is for 750 houses, a school and shops to be built with a single entrance off the B2178 (Funtington Road). Our main concern is with the traffic implications. These affect us because:
- The construction traffic (until at least 2026) will be routed through the Westgate/Avenue de Chartres roundabout and then up Orchard Street and St Paul’s Road.
- As soon as the first of the units are completed, increased traffic will begin to be generated, the majority of it trying to access the A27 through our area. This will make it more difficult for us to get about, on foot, on a bike or in a car.
- “Rat running” along Sherborne Road will increase by 30% (developer’s figure), which will affect congestion at the Westgate/Sherborne Road roundabout. As well as affecting us, over 300 students from Bishop Luffa School and the College, cross the road at this roundabout twice a day in term time. This is an accident waiting to happen.
Your committee feel that the solution to this is to insist that a Southern Access Road connected directly in to the Cathedral Way/Via Ravenna roundabout is constructed at the commencement of the build, not halfway through as in the Masterplan. I am expecting to address the Planning Committee again at the meeting and it will enhance the power of our case if as many residents as possible show their support by attending. We will keep you informed of the date, time and place. A position statement prepared by Anthony Quail, one of our Committee members, is attached for your information.
Westgate Street Party
The Westgate Residents’ Association held a very successful street party on Sunday 12th June in honour of Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday. It was raining hard when the road was closed at 8.00am but it had eased by 10.00am and a band of volunteers erected a row of tents and gazebos along the street since rain was forecast to return. Long tables were laid out with linen tablecloths and the whole decorated with bunting and balloons in red, white and blue. The party started at about 1.00pm when the Town Crier who happens to be one of our councillors, made a suitable announcement and Hubert Doggart, one of our more famous residents, read his ‘Ode to Queen Elizabeth’ and a Loyal Toast was drunk. The festivities continued with feasting and drinking until mid-afternoon, when the Hog Roast, which had been cooking since 6.00am was ready. Hollie De’Villier provided a light musical accompaniment throughout the afternoon, which very fortunately remained dry. Special thanks must go to Sandra and Peter Young who not only organised the event and worked tirelessly on the day, but also contributed generous financial support. Thanks also to all the residents who turned out in the morning to set up and again take down in the evening, by which time the sun had come out, when it was necessary to interrupt the dancing and clear up. We were pleased to be visited by a both our County Councillors Louise Goldsmith and Margaret Evans as well as the Deputy Mayor, the Town Crier and two City Councillors.
Richard Brownfield, Chairman
Opening of The Brewery Field
A week later on 19th June, again with some adverse weather, the Friends of The Brewery Field organised a grand opening of this new community green space. The result of an agreement between the County and the City Councils, this new park is leased to the City for 25 years provided the community make use of it. The Brewery Field has been saved from development for the community and the boundary of the Chichester Conservation Area has been moved to include it in its protective arms. The City is very clear that they are running the park but the Friends are called upon to organise an annual event for all the surrounding communities to advertise it and encourage its use. The Friends committee draws on volunteers from the three residents’ associations: Parklands, Westgate and Orchard Street and the Chairman is our very own Secretary. Regular meetings about this space have been held with the City Council since last November to develop ideas for the use of the park and there are plans for signage, way-finding finger posts and a new goal post complete with net. A bin has already been installed which serves as a bin for dog waste also. The event attracted several community stalls and some sixty people turned up to see the Mayor of Chichester and the Leader of the County Council cut the ribbon and declare the park open. It is unusual for a community to be given this kind of resource to develop from scratch and the first few months have not been without their problems and residents will find that it does come with its accompanying frustrations. The Council and the Friends are keen to retain the naturalness of the field, once used to house the dray horses of the Westgate Brewery, and it will not be over-developed. The Friends are confident of being able to provide a usable – and locatable – space at least for dog-walking, jogging, picnics and games by next Spring. You can reach the field down the right hand side of the County Records Office on Orchard Street and then through the car park. More details can be found on our website under Brewery Field.
Brian Hopkins, our very own tree warden, took time out from his busy schedule of walks for the Festival of Chichester to take interested residents on a walk down Westgate to identify our landmark trees. Some of these are protected by Tree Preservation Orders but not all, and a fascinating time was had by a small group of residents who turned out on a damp day. So interesting did it prove and such is the richness of interesting trees in our streets that only half the walk was completed. A further walk to complete the circuit will be organised soon, as well as a second tour in the early Autumn for those who missed this fascinating perambulation. All details about Westgate trees to treasure can be found on our website under Trees.
Future Social Programme
Many exciting ideas have been put forward for new events. These include:
- The use of Brewery Field for informal sports evenings,
- Talks – there are a wealth of interesting people who live locally. These could possibly be held in the back room of the Chichester Inn in West Street. (We continue to pressure the bishop about the use of the empty St Bartholomew’s, but so far without any success.)
- Communal meals, where residents from all parts of the street could meet.
However, we lack a person to co-ordinate one or more of these. The present committee are fully committed with their present roles. We are looking for one or more people from the members of the Association, to help. This person(s) could be co-opted onto the committee or function in a more informal way, as they wish. The Secretary will be on hand to coordinate. If you are able to help or have any ideas, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to one of the committee at a coffee morning at the Crate and Apple – next one 10.00am Saturday 6th August!
Colin Hicks, Secretary