Leading councillors at Chichester District Council reaffirmed their commitment to the Southern Gateway regeneration project at a special Full Council meeting on Tuesday 7 December.
Councillors heard how the pandemic had impacted on the Southern Gateway project, which aims to regenerate the southern area of Chichester.
They were told that the project was progressing, but that due to the ongoing pandemic there would be elements that would be unable to be delivered.
The biggest element that cannot be brought forward at this stage is the redevelopment of the Courts building, which has been brought back into use due to the backlog of cases. This is because the Ministry of Justice wants to reduce delays and deliver speedier justice for victims. However, they were told that this site could potentially return to the programme at a later stage.
This change and further impacts caused by the pandemic, has meant that HBD, the development partner, will no longer be involved in the project. Instead, the partners involved in the project, including Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council and Sussex Police, will manage the development of their own parcels of land, which together represent 75% of the entire project.
“As you can imagine, the pandemic has significantly impacted on our progress with this important project, but we want to reaffirm our commitment to redeveloping this important gateway to Chichester,” says Cllr Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester District Council.
“Despite all of the challenges we have faced, the project is moving forward. Work has started on the Kingsham School site, where demolition is underway to mitigate safety concerns at the old school building. The NHS has also reconfirmed their interest in developing a community health hub and GP practice on the site, and we are also progressing discussions with Stagecoach regarding the relocation of the bus depot and offices. Sussex Police aims to use its land for new homes as intended in the masterplan.
“The past couple of years have been really tough on everyone. The pandemic has changed all of our lives in so many ways, from how we work, through to the general recovery of the economy, and so it is no surprise that it has impacted on a project such as this. What’s important for people to know is that we are still committed to regenerating this area of Chichester - we’re just going to approach it in a slightly different way. The overall masterplan will remain, but each partner will develop their own parcels of land, with a design-led approach to development. What residents and businesses can be assured of is that we will keep them updated as the project progresses.”
Chichester District Council is in detailed negotiations with Stagecoach with a view to transferring their maintenance depot and offices to a council owned site in Terminus Road Chichester. This would enable this key site to be redeveloped, along with the council’s Basin Road car park. A vital part of the agreement with Stagecoach will be determining the location of bus stops to best serve customers, especially those changing from bus to rail and vice versa. Councillors will be looking at the best options for these sites, taking account of the opportunities for higher density housing on a brownfield location.
People can find out more about the project here: https://www.chichester.gov.uk/article/29385/About-the-Southern-Gateway