The Chichester post is running a story about how Chichester District Council is searching for popular ideas for events.
The Post reports: “Chichester District Council is currently developing a new events strategy, which aims to provide a year-round programme of events to entertain, educate and inspire residents and visitors across the district. To help shape this work, the council will be asking residents and businesses to say what events they would like to see in the district by taking part in a short survey.”
The Lions Club of Chichester are running an event to help local organisations raise funds to do good things in the community. Would you like to join the Swimathon on 18th May to raise funds towards organising a Car Free Day in the city? Teams consist of 4-6 members and more than one team can be entered.
The Lions Club is registered as a charity which means donations can be gift aided to the Lions who will then in turn let us have the money towards organising our Car Free Day event. It is extremely generous of them to support community organisations in this way.
Chichester Car Free Day supporters enjoyed a lively and productive meeting at the Park Tavern on the Monday the 29th April. We decided to refocus our efforts towards holding a family oriented mini festival on South St. to coincide with International Car Free Day on Sunday the 22nd of October. Sarah Sharp proposed we should apply for a “Playing Out Street Order”. These orders allow for temporary closure of streets so that Children can enjoy activities where traffic would normally prevent them from playing. The idea originated from two Bristol neighbours, Alice Ferguson and Amy Rose, who came up with the idea of short, resident-led road closures in 2009. Playing out orders are limited to a duration of three hours so the event is now planed to run from midday until 3pm. We are rebranding our campaign “Playing Out on International Car Free Day”.
Sarah Sharp has previously organised similar events but we are also particularly lucky to have Peter Wilson on our team who has a long career in promoting road safety. Peter has extensive experience in organising similar events in the Westminster borough of Central London and he brought so many ideas to the table we had trouble writing them all down. We are also glad to be joined by Sustrans representative Adam Bell who is able to run a mobile bike workshop on Car Free Day and has a wealth of contacts to help us promote sustainable transport.
Supporting a Car Free Day will allow our local authorities to “raise awareness of the issues and ways in which residents and businesses can contribute to mitigate climate change”. This is an objective we passionately share with our County Council who unanimously agreed to support this as part of the landmark Climate Motion on the 5th April 2019. Also our District Council state that “We must act now to reduce traffic, encourage better lifestyle choices for our citizens and become a greener, better connected city where the needs of all generations are catered for” this commitment is given in the document “Chichester Tomorrow, A Vision for Chichester City Centre”. Indeed we feel that a Car Free Day event is the perfect opportunity to jointly combine these aims towards making Chichester a cleaner greener city that everyone will love to visit.
Our group has discussed ideas with most businesses along South Street. The concept has been generally well received with Kiwi Recruitment being particularly excited at the prospect of activities in the street. Business Initiative District (BID) have commented that the event might draw more customers towards South St businesses. The Chichester Music Academy is offering to provide live music and we have been in contact with Chichester Cathedral who have offered to provide lunch to our team of performance art dancers.
There is much still to be organised but we are looking forward to holding a fun family playing out event on International Car Free Day 2019.
A number of Edinburgh’s city centre streets have been closed to traffic under plans to reduce air pollution. The city has become the first in the UK to join the Open Streets movement. The initiative will take place on the first Sunday of every month as part of an 18-month trial. The BBC is running a story on this development which you can follow on this link.
As The Mound, part of Hanover Street and the eastern end of George Street closed to traffic to mark Clean Air Day, transport and environment convener Lesley Macinnes said the aim was to demonstrate that Edinburgh could be a city that put people and public spaces first and did not need to be dominated by vehicles.Councillor Macinnes said: “As we have seen in other European capitals such as Oslo, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, active travel and car-free city centre streets improve the quality of the air that we breathe, the safety of the streets, and encourage people to use and enjoy the public realm more freely. Read more about it in the Edinburgh Evening News by following this link.
Edinburgh’s cycle hire scheme will also be free all week to encourage people to ditch their vehicles.
If they can do this North of the border and on the continent then why can’t we have a Car Free Sunday each month in Chichester?
Chichester City Council discussed the Car Free Day proposal on Wednesday the 24th April 2019. Unfortunately the councillors were divided on the idea. Cllr Sarah Sharp (Green) firmly supported the proposal and highlighted community engagement and committent to the event. Cllr Martin Bell (Con) said: “I think we need more research done on this but a car-free day could potentially bring you more business.” However Cllr Richard Plowman believed that Chichester business is inextricably reliant on motor car dependency and 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”.
Car Free Day supporters remain optimistic. We believe that a few hours spent once a year favouring alternatives to motor car dependency might bring people into our City and invigorate Sunday life in the town centre.
Dance students are now lined up to make a dramatic street performance on car free day and Sarah Sharp & Mark Record (from the Chichester Car Free Campaign) also had a productive meeting with the Cathedral’s Communar David Coulthard.
David was positive about our ideas and believed we would be able to hold the event without causing the Cathedral significant difficulties. We reassured him that during the event the intention was merely to restrict traffic along South St rather than it to be prohibited . Provision will be made so that residents along Cathedral Close can leave and return from their residence with motor-vehicles but will need to keep to a 5mph limit within the event space for safety reasons. David very kindly offered that the Cathedral could provide the University dance team with lunch in the Cloisters restaurant. We are pleased that constructive community cooperation is already beginning to form around the event.
Emily Ralls has written in to the Chichester Car Free campaign about an article on car free Sundays and the positive impact they have on the community in Bagota. Emily hopes it might be fuel for the debate and inspire people towards adopting similar ideas in Chichester.
The article is by Alma Guillermoprieto. He writes frequently about Latin America for National Geographic. Spurred by environmental concerns, an example experiment in Bogota, Columbia, is spreading worldwide.
Stagecoach bus company have volunteered to provide a whole bus/coach as a static attraction for Chichester Car Free Day. The intention is it will help advertise car free day and promote use of local busses as an alternative to private car use. We’ll be able to reprogram the destination board on the front, to display names, so families can enjoy being photographed with the bus or even with kids in the driving seat. Stage coach are also going to provide a prize of a family day rover bus ticket as a competition prize to promote Chichester Car Free Day.
Sarah Sharp and Mark Record from the Car Free Chichester Campaign had a very productive meeting with Mike Armitage the operations Manager for Stagecoach in Chichester. We met up at the bus depot at lunchtime on the 11th March.
Unfortunately we discovered that it’s difficult to re-route busses in a loop around the back of the old Army and Navy shop via, Tower St, The Woolstaplers & Chapel St. We had previously hoped this would allow us to divert busses from South St on car free day. Mike pointed out that this re-route was to be avoided as the busses could not turn around the corners without mounting the pavements. However he suggested the possibility of putting a 5 MPH speed limit on the busses for Car Free Day to allow safer use of the roadway in south street. There is also an option that the busses could all travel in the same direction entirely freeing up one side of the carriageway. These appear realistic options that would allow public use of south street for a Car Free event.
Stagecoach have also offered to display posters advertising a Chichester Car Free Day and we even discussed options for putting an advert on the side or back of a bus.
The Chichester Post reporter has included a story in their 11th March edition, about Ken Dolman’s new logo for the Chichester Car Free Campaign.
Reporter Kelly Wickham wrote “The group had asked the public to help design a logo. The winning one was designed by Kenneth Dolman, a retired professional graphic designer, who said that he saw the competition in the Chichester Post”. The full story from the Post is available here.