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Could the city be car-free?

A divided city council discussed the proposal of a car-free day in the city centre on Wednesday evening.


The initiative was first presented to the city council by Parklands resident Mark Record in December, which appeared to be well received by councillors.


In February, Mr Record met with county councillors, who also had mixed opinions on the event.


At the Chichester City Council meeting on Wednesday evening, Cllr Sarah Sharp said: “We are working with a lot of people. We have a meeting planned on May 20 with local residents associations so we can have a discussion.


“This is all early stages of discussion but we are finding interest in this. We have not called on any public funds for this.”


Cllr Richard Plowman said: “The feedback which has been given to me is actually that this is very impractical thing and in view of what is happening in Chichester, there should be nothing that gets in the way of supporting our economy and a Sunday economy in Chichester is important we know that.


“This is very good but the feedback I have had is that it is not good and it is not practical.”


Cllr MArtyn Bell said: “I think we need more research done on this but a car-free day could potentially bring you more business.”


Speaking to the Chichester Post, Mr Record said: “We have offers of help and involvement from a wide range of groups including Stagecoach, Chichester Music Academy, dance students and tutors and Chichester Cathedral, which is a very positive step.


“We are meeting on Monday at 7.30pm to take our plans further.”


“We are really pleased with our professionally designed logo and are now planning a competition for schools.


“Fortunately, a recently retired events organiser has joined our team, who has prior experience of staging similar events in the London borough of Westminster.


“Our campaign group has visited many shops and businesses around the proposed area for the event and most feedback has been very positive.”


Mr Record believed that Chichester could follow in the footsteps of other European cities, which were leading the way in promoting itself by declaring the first Sunday of each month a car-free day.


However, as a trial the proposal is currently to join in on international car-free day on September 22 within the city walls.


A local group of over 70 people have already come together to support Car Free Days in Chichester and a competition which featured in the Chichester Post was held to design a logo for the day.


Key aims of the campaign are to reduce pollution, make it more safe with fun places to walk and cycle by extending the heart of the city outwards and to help combat climate change.


The winning logo was designed by Kenneth Dolman, a retired professional graphic designer, who said that he saw the competition in the Chichester Post and decided to take part ‘on a whim’.


He backs the campaign as a great way for people to enjoy the city streets without having to worry about cars.


Mr Record continued: “Stagecoach has offered to provide a bus parked up at the event that people are invited into to help promote public transport.


“They will be able to re-program the destination display board so families can make photos of their kids sitting in the drivers seat with their individual names displayed on the front of the bus.


“We are looking forward to working on our plans over the summer months and hope that the result of our hard work will be a successful, fun and inclusive event on Sunday, September 22 which will attract more people into the city centre.”


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