New bus shelter for Chichester

Bus-goers waiting at Stockbridge Road will no longer have to cower under their coats and brollies when the rain or snow falls after a group of residents’ campaign to build a new bus shelter was successful.

Residents are rejoicing after a two-year campaign to get the shelter built opposite the sheltered housing at Byron Court. After successfully getting £5,000 in funding from Chichester City Council, Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council, the new bus stop was opened by the mayor, Michael Woolley on December 16.

The Southern Gateway Residents’ Association was the group behind securing the new shelter.

Treasurer Linda Boize said: “It wasn’t straightforward getting the amount of funding we did.

“Everyone was very pleased the local residents association had accomplished something for their residents, particularly with this current sort of weather. It will bring some Christmas cheer.”

Calls to have the bus shelter built began in 2008. The residents’ association started a formal campaign in 2009 but it didn’t pick up until the end of that year.

Since then the group has worked with the councils to secure funding for it. The city council pledged £4,000 to the project.

Town clerk at Chichester City Council, Rodney Duggua, said: “There was no magic wand involved. They applied for a grant and they got it.

“It’s the old, old story of community and team effort. Someone had got together a good business plan and ticked all the boxes.”

He added: “Let’s hope people enjoy it. There are quite a number of people living in that area, in their more mature years, that already travel by bus. They can use the shelter to keep out of the elements. They rely on public transport.”

Mrs Boize added: “A double-decker bus turned up at the shelter during the ceremony, right on cue. This was a triumph for the residents’ association.

“We could have very easily given up because nobody at the beginning said ‘oh yes, here’s some money’. It was the city council who stepped up to the mark.

“The bus shelter has seating and will be invaluable for the many elderly people who live in the area.”

The new shelter is real-time ready, which means interactive screens detailing bus arrival times and journeys could be installed there in the future.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the shelter, everyone went back to Byron court for mince pies and sherry.