Now also reported in the Chichester Observer.
South Street businesses were surveyed on the 7th September 2019, only a fortnight before the Chichester Car Free Sunday Street Event is due to take place on the 22nd September (copy of survey available here).
Organising this years Car Free Day event has proved more difficult than we originally envisaged. We made significant efforts to consult with shops early in the year but it took us an age to apply for and then be granted approval for the event by the local authorities.
We received the go ahead for the event only a month before it is due to take place and it has been a huge rush to inform people in the local community about what was going on. Their was significant anxiety within our group that we could communicate our vision of the event to local businesses in the short time we have had available.
Our team were genuinely anxious that we had gathered adequate local support and were seriously debating whether we could viably go ahead. We decided it would only be fair to continue with the event if we had two thirds of South Street businesses in support.
Philip Maber and Mark Record surveyed shops an Saturday 07 September 2019 and were delighted about the virtually unanimous support for the Car Free Day Street Event planed for the 22nd September.
With 83.93% support for the event from local shops, we feel duty bound to go ahead with the event as we have promised.
A few shops do object to the idea of a Car Free Day. One charity shop makes a very reasonable objection that elderly volunteers will need to walk further to the shop because buses will be diverted. Three shops object because they fear they will experience reduced trade during the event. We understand this concern but Chichester Car Free Day campaigners believe an increase in trade is more likely during the event but only time can truly reveal the reality.
The Local Council’s “Chichester Vision” document outlines a Car Free South Street. One of the aims of holding Car Free Days in the city is to explore which parts of the “Chichester Vision” are viable. Our view is it will better for us to try out pedestrianisation on Car Free Days and find what works and what does not before local authorities implement permanent changes.