Thank you so much to all those who adopted a planter and have worked to make them look so much better, it really has made such a difference to the street. There are still a couple of planters which need some tender loving care, if anyone is happy to help please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also to those who came along after the WGRA coffee morning to help in one way or another to clear the vegetation at the entrance to Westgate, opposite The Georgian Priory, a very big thank you. It has been a great way to meet other residents and many people stopped to offer their verbal support!
At present we are putting together a grant application to help with the cost of shrubs, bulbs and compost, plus manpower to help shift the pot bound shrubs. We are also hoping to have a couple of fund raising events, however none of this will happen until later this Autumn or early next year. Several residents have donated cuttings or unwanted plants which have been gratefully accepted, please keep them coming. We are able to provide compost for the planting of spring bulbs but not the bulbs themselves. If any of you are feeling generous and would like to donate the odd packet of bulbs it would be brilliant.
I have been talking with a local and very experienced gardener who will provide us with some cuttings and advice on what would work best in our planters for all year colour, a meeting with him and planter adoptees is planned for mid Autumn.
The application for outline planning permission for building the first 750 houses at Whitehouse Farm will now be heard at a special meeting of the planning committee on Thursday 8th of September at the CDC Offices in East Pallant. The meeting will start at 9.30 am. It would be very helpful if as many members of the public attend as possible, as I gather that the decisions of the councillors may be more circumspect if they are under public scrutiny. Originally there was opposition to the whole concept of building this development, but we have now accepted that it is very likely to happen. At this meeting the traffic issues will be decided. These are the issues which will affect us most directly and it is important that we should try and influence the outcome. In the Local Plan there is provision for a Southern Access Route to the development to be built in the second phase, that is to say when the second 850 houses are started. We believe that this road should be built, preferably as a link road to the B2178 – a Chichester Western Relief Road – to take all the construction traffic away from the residential areas of western Chichester BEFORE any houses are started. The local plan also shows the road opening into Westgate. We have campaigned vigorously against this. I was at a meeting with the head of highways at WSCC this week, who agrees with us and has proposed a link direct into the Cathedral Way/ Via Ravenna roundabout. The Local Plan is normally fixed in stone, however you have seen the “Joint Submission” of the 4 local RAs, in which our barrister argues that there is new evidence since the plan was adopted and that it can therefore be varied. We hope that the councillors have read all the evidence and will make the right decision.
Sincere thanks to all of you who have sent contributions towards the Association funds to the treasurer Vince Waldron. We found ourselves in a difficult situation following the necessity to pay our share of the barristers bill for the “Joint Submission”. There are also some other expenses that we need to be met. however following the generosity of a number of members the situation is now much better. We will discuss the future funding of the Association at the AGM in the autumn.
The next WGRA Crate and Apple coffee morning will be on Saturday 3rd September starting at 10.00am – See you there.
The Brewery Field
Complaints have been received at the City Council about persistent littering of the field, but not from our residents, who enjoy using the field, to walk their dogs or litter pick regularly. Various meetings with officials have been held and it is generally agreed that this is a seasonal problem. The cure would seem to be for more people to use the field, so do please take advantage of the fine weather to walk your dog, picnic or sit and read a book. We are renewing our efforts to create a better environment and there is no shortage of ideas, we just need more volunteers to take on specific projects if you have a bit of time to give. We are looking at getting some seating installed and putting up a couple of interpretation boards, one for wild life and one on the history of the Brewery and the field. For those with an interest in wildlife we will be focussing on trees, insects and birds and installing some insect hotels. Do please drop in your own ideas to email@example.com or let us know if you have some time to give over the Autumn to get these ideas put in place. If you would like to be part of the decision-making process, the next committee meeting of the Friends of the Field is at noon on Wednesday 7th September at the Council House at which you are most welcome.
The WGRA website will soon be a year old and usage has been steadily growing, with visitor peaks of 280 in winter and 190 this summer. Our pages have been viewed 7500 times by 1500 users over the year with one third returning and 92% from the UK. When they visit us they read between 3 and five pages before moving on. We have received some good feedback locally about the quality and content of our website, with one RA declaring that we have set a new standard for this kind of website and another actually copying us in its battle to influence decisions about the A27. If you have not visited the website recently there is a wealth of content about the issues we face with traffic and the Whitehouse Farm development, our environment, our history and our social life. There is a large picture gallery of contemporary and historical images, including the 2016 Street Party, and a document library where the Committee puts items we think you should read. You can access all this and more from the top of the first page at www.westgatera.org.uk. Any feedback, comment or ideas for improvement are welcome.