Anger at proposed Chichester car park closure

Letter from: Ken Strudwick, Shopwyke Road, Chichester

Monday, 10th February 2020, 12:35 pm
The Farmers Market in Chichester

I had thought that the Monster Raving Looney Party was now defunct but it appears I was wrong and it is now part of Chichester District Council.

How else could anyone come up with the ridiculous idea of closing a large central car park and turning it into a market?

For years the shops in Chichester have found it increasingly difficult to make a profit with ever-increasing rents and now there is a move to reduce the footfall by removing one of the main car parks.

Who do Tony Dignum and others think will use this market when they can’t get into the town?

For many years, in fact since the 1950s, we had a very good retail market in the Eastgate car park until it was closed and moved back into the main streets (as in Victorian days) to make way for more car parking spaces.

Now they want to close another car park to make way for more market stalls. How utterly ridiculous!

Most of the stalls seem to be selling fancy goods which we don’t need every week and gone are the ‘full’ greengrocers and of course there is no sign at all of Malpas the butcher.

On the rare occasions that I go into Chichester town centre (rare because I can drive to Bognor in much the same time as it takes to get into our city and I can park close to the shops for much less money, if any at all) I am horrified at the frequent and sudden change of so many shop premises from one business to another.

In many cases this seems to be a new café/coffee shop or hairdresser. I have a theory that if anyone decided to go to a different café in Chichester every day for coffee, they would never get to visit them all because they are constantly opening up and closing down. Some even have more than one establishment.

Another terrible mistake was made some years ago, when the historic Market House in North Street was closed and converted into what it is now basically two high-class jewellers. That should never have been allowed. I wonder how long before it again becomes vacant. When that happens, I would suggest that it be converted into useful small trade kiosks where local people can sell their wares. Perhaps the WI could open a stall, or a full-time greengrocer or fishmonger.

As for reducing carbon footprints, how much CO2 will be generated by frustrated motorists trying to find somewhere to park?

For goodness sake, let’s get some sense into the district council and stop stupid ideas like closing the Little London Car Park, which brings valuable custom to the streets of Chichester.