The city’s mayor has said the council must do more after it recently embarked on two major initiatives – declaring a climate change emergency and a neighbourhood plan.
Cllr Richard Plowman said both were his priorities as they embraced the community.
“Like all cities in the UK, they are major challenges for the high street for retailing and coupled with the challenge of making Chichester carbon neutral by 2030 means we need to plan and adapt for the future.”
The mayor said that doing nothing was not an option and that Chichester had a lot going for it compared to some cities and was a great historic place.
He continued: “It also has some of the best brains in the country amongst the population, many are retired but bring with them a wealth of experience as do all the people of Chichester.
“I have been speaking to many of them and gathering ideas as we have the unique opportunity to create our own neighbourhood plan. This plan, when approved, has real weight in planning law, it cannot be ignored.”
Neighbourhood plans are produced and approved by the people before being adopted by the district council. They are comprehensive, evidence-based and cover everything including infrastructure (roads, transport, education and medical and care facilities), environment, economy and well being.
Cllr Plowman said the plan needed to tackle the revitalisation of Chichester and climate change objectives as well as making the community thrive.
He has stated that one area that did not need to be tackled was where new houses were to go, as that had already been determined by the Local Plan.
Chichester City Council’s planning and conservation meeting on June 26 unanimously recommended to go ahead with a neighbourhood plan covering all the city wards, with some 27,000 inhabitants.
Cllr Plowman continued: “The Chichester Vision document forms a good basis for the direction although it was put together before the most recent high street situation as is the Southern Gateway Masterplan but it was felt you cannot just concentrate on the city centre as all the other parts of Chichester are interlinked and intermeshed particularly for getting people into the city through public transport, sustainable and safe pedestrian and cycle ways and joining up the wildlife corridors.
“These are exciting times and we hope everybody in Chichester, including those who work here, will have their say and input into the Neighbourhood Plan. Let’s make a plan together that is inclusive for everybody, is the best we can make with the brains and energy of the people of Chichester, restores civic pride and makes it the best place for our children and their children to grow up in and enjoy.
“It will take at least 18 months to complete and it will be hard work but the rewards for us will be worth it.”