Modern versus historic

Your request for views on the new sculpture’s suitability in West Street prompts more general feelings on modern additions to historic settings.

Many would agree the West Street structure is unsuitable for its cathedral position, yet the nearby statue of St Richard is already a part of the city’s establishment.

Pallant House Gallery as such is admirable and an important city asset, yet at least one passer-by still winces to see the way it has demoted its once-august neighbour and their situation.

Roman baths must have existed countrywide, yet the discovery of one in Chichester has led to the building of a controversial and costly museum above it. Of all the ancient remains in Priory Park, the castle is outstanding as a relic of Chichester’s part in the first moves towards democracy across this land.

The good intentions of Magna Carta had been brought to nothing by King and Pope. Some sought the aid of France. The invasion that followed is little known, but one of its results was the French occupation of King John’s castle in Chichester.

That king’s timely death opened the door for change and the French remained and had to be driven from this city before long struggles eventually forged the idea of liberty of the individual.

Chichester’s ordeal had not been in vain and it might have been expected that there would be some commemoration of those obscure events in a city where tourism is a lifeblood.

A cross-section of the castle’s defences survived 800 years, now it is gone and replaced by an extension of a children’s playground. Excellent in itself despite its intrusive yellow woodwork and how insensitively it is placed.

The castle remains could yet be restored to create a major city attraction with more of the original events to offer visitors. The resultant earthworks could revert to picnic and adventure play area.

David Hide,

Priory Road, Chichester