Comment: Boring? Few places are more special than Chichester?

A district councillor has claimed that setting the preferred number of sex shops and casinos for Chichester at zero highlights how boring it now is to live in the city.

Thursday, 31st March 2016, 5:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:33 pm
An aerial view of Chichester Cathedral

Len Macey is entitled to his point of view. Click here to read it

But frankly, what nonsense he speaks.

Chichester is simply one of the best places to live and work in Britain because it sets its standards so high.

With a nationally renowned Festival Theatre, superb schools, a tremendous cathedral community, wonderful city centre shops, a fabulous hospital, and an amazing environment of downland and sea, it gets no better than this.

Other cities can have sex shops and casinos if they feel it necessary.

Frankly, we neither want nor need them here.

Gambling can be an addiction. It can drag down the most vulnerable in our communities. There may be a place for it somewhere. But that somewhere is a million miles from Chichester.

This city has a great heart. It performs the most moving acts of kindness both directly - as illustrated by our community awards - and through a wealth of charities and groups.

Often this work goes unsung; without fuss; without seeking credit.

Wow - how fortunate we are to have them.

A great city supports the vulnerable. It helps them. It lifts them up.

Chichester is just such a great city - with a generous heart.

Of course, we can always do better. We should never be complacent.

But doing better is about aspiring to greatness in all fields - and not sinking to the lowest common denominator.

Britain has changed much in recent years. Much but not all the evolution is for the better.

It is terrific that we celebrate each others’ differences and unique qualities more than at any time in our nation’s history; that we are more open to new ideas and more robustly opposed to discrimination of any kind.

Yet in these more liberal times there is a danger too that the moral compass has become blurred.

Standing up for the family - whatever the shape and nature of the modern family - has never been more important. Keeping an eye out for our neighbours in increasingly isolated times is equally as important.

Chichester is a cultural oasis.

It is an innovator and pioneer of great art - illustrated not just by the wonderful Festival Theatre but the New Park Cinema and the Festival of Chichester.

It has had the good sense to protect and preserve all that makes it such a terrific place - thanks to the wisdom of its county, district, and city councils.

A community that has no values has no worth.

Chichester is not boring. It is special beyond description. A jewel. A treasure.

I am enormously proud of it and all its residents.

I know readers of the Observer are too.