Underpass would provide ‘huge opportunity’ for growth in Chichester

Proposals for an underpass to be built beneath the city’s railway line have been promoted this week.

A masterplan for the area, stretching from the law courts to Canal Wharf, was agreed by Chichester District Council back in 2017.

Richard Plowman and Brian Raincock from Gateway Plus team

Richard Plowman and Brian Raincock from Gateway Plus team

On Tuesday and Wednesday, members of the Gateway Plus team stood by the level crossing, talking to and handing out leaflets to passers-by about the benefits of an underpass.

Brian Raincock, who set up the scheme with Geoff Thorpe and Richard Plowman, said the impact has been ‘considerable’.

He said: “A recent survey found 99 per cent of people wanted level crossings removed but it requires a lot of willpower. The Southern Gateway, under the Chichester District Council’s plans, would not get rid of the level crossings and would not develop the area.

“Our view is that there is a huge opportunity to get rid of the bus station and open up a huge area for an exhibition and convention centre with a large hotel.”

Brian said the founders of the initiative, which was set up in December 2017, have met ‘a number of interested parties’, including Coast to Capital, West Sussex County Council, Network Rail and Transport for the South East.

He added: “We are trying to ignite people’s interest and show that it is possible. There is an attitude that it is impossible to do anything but there is a big future here.”

A further event will be held by the level crossing on May 1 and May 2.

See also: Underpass proposed as solution to close Chichester level crossings