As far as we can ascertain, The Westgate Residents’ Association first saw the light of day as the Western Residents’ Association back in the 1970s when the City woke up to the impact of the wholesale demolitions for road-building. Members of this group were present at the famous Cathedral meeting of 1500 citizens where the Chichester Society was founded.
As the issues died away, interest in the Association dwindled until the proposal to build the Tesco supermarket emerged in the 1980s. The Association was very effective in getting the traffic calming measures installed in the street as part of the mitigation of traffic flows predicted from the building of the superstore. A further victory saw the repositioning of the Chichester College 18-plus student accommodation block away from the back gardens of the street over to the edge of Via Ravenna.
Once again interest dwindled and from 2002 the Association became moribund. The need for a third incarnation emerged in July 2015, following what some residents felt was a disastrous meeting with the developers’ traffic consultants concerning traffic calming measures to mitigate the impact of the Whitehouse Farm development of 1500 new homes at the Western end.
Map of the Westgate RA Area
The Third Reincarnation
Following this most unsatisfactory “workshop” on July 23rd 2015 with agents for the developers of the White House Farm housing site, a group of residents decided to revive the Westgate Residents’ Association (WGRA) in collaboration with the old committee.
A very well-attended coffee morning was held on Saturday 15th August 2015 to allow all residents to meet each other, identify the members of a temporary Steering Committee that was proposing to revive the RA, and to hear a little of what the developers of White House Farm were planning.
An informal Steering Committee met on 25th August and gave itself a triple mandate:
- to revive the Westgate RA at an AGM
- to organise a proper information meeting on the White House Farm Development
- to actively encourage a social programme that would allow residents to meet each other in a relaxed environment.
As its first task the Committee redrafted the Articles of Association and organised a general meeting for the Autumn at which a proper Residents’ Association Committee could be elected and the RA officially relaunched. The date for this was fixed as November 7th.
An early and major part of business for the committee would then be to bring all households up to date on the traffic calming proposals of the developers of the White House Farm site and how they will affect our households.
The committee organised the WGRA to be representative of the whole length of Westgate, including the cul de sac at the Bishop Luffa School end, as well as those side streets that have their only exit onto Westgate; viz. Henty Gardens, Mount Lane, St Bartholomew’s Close and Tannery Close. Tollhouse Close residents would be welcomed in at a later date.
This was achieved in collaboration with the old WGRA committee, several households on the street who are already active, and the surrounding residents’ associations on Old Broyle Road, Orchard Street & Somerstown and of course Parklands. This last RA has been exceptionally dynamic and even altered their constitution to include Westgate in their communications – many of you will be getting their newsletter through your letterbox and this will continue.
To launch its social programme a street party was organised for Bank Holiday Monday 31st August 2015 and a series of monthly residents’ Coffee Mornings to be held on the first Saturday of each month was launched at the Crate and Apple on Saturday 5th September of that year.
Annual General Meetings
At the General Meeting called on 7th November 2015 to adopt of the constitution and elect the Committee, the Steering Committee delivered a status report and then fell on its sword, job done.
The new Constitution and committee were voted in at that meeting and the new committee met shortly afterwards to begin building on its twin objectives: protection of the residents’ interests in relation to new housing and road developments and a social programme that might help combat isolation among the more vulnerable members of our community. Since then the Committee has met regularly and set up various working groups to deliver to these objectives.
The first meeting of the new democratically elected Residents’ Committee was held on Wednesday 25th November 2015. A new Committee is elected at each annual AGM, the last one of which was held on 25th November 2017. Our AGM is held each November where possible and lifts are available to the meeting.
There has been a very positive response from the residents to all the various initiatives of the Association. For more information on the personnel and work of the Committee and the Association, please see Who’s who? in the drop-down menu at the top of this page. Thank you for your support.
Please contact us for assistance and any further information about the Association.
To contact the WGRA.