My Open Letter to Chichester’s Mayor

Posted by Stephen Baker on 17th March 2008

I’ve just sent an ‘Open Letter’ addressed to the Mayor for publication in this week’s Chichester Observer.

Here’s why.

Having taken time out to reflect on the decision made by the Council regarding the modernisation of our Chichester Butter Market, having studied the process that led to that decision, and having listened to the feedback from our local tax payers, producers and consumers alike, I now feel that it would be a great shame not to ask whether the “Full Council” would have made the same decision. Given the amount of negative feeling expressed to our team about the current plans for this prestigious building, I must assume that the full Council would be more truly representative of the broader taxpaying public in Chichester.

This is why I’m asking local residents to express their views in writing to the paper - and as comments on the blog here - during the coming weeks,. This will help us to gauge what local taxpayers truly want to see. Do they want their building restored as a local trading centre for a wide range of local produce and so protect 200 years of history, as well as its existing tenants? Or, by way of contrast, do they want to see the building used as a simple shell for modern retailers to use when occupancy rates for such retail space is in severe decline?

Based on the conversations I have been having throughout the city and its surrounding area, I believe that the majority of taxpayers are not in favour of the current decision. So, I call upon the Mayor to support a special resolution seeking to have the decision reviewed by the full council. This will allow them the time to reflect on the true majority of taxpayer views and, I hope, lead to the recent decision being overturned.

Of course, I realise that my perception may be wrong about the level of support for our own plan, which was designed to deliver broader stability to our rural economy. What I am still certain of, however, is that our plan would see this historic site restored to its former glory as the beating heart of our city. The result? Local producers, local consumers, and local taxpayers all benefit.

Do you agree? Please let me know. Let the Observer know. Above all, let the council know.

You can download a pdf copy of my Open Letter to Mayor or read it on-line here. The Observer is on-line here.

3 comments:

  1. Jane Grisdale says:
    20th March 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I am really pleased that you are still fighting the council’s decision. I agree with everything you have to say. I am quite willing to help you in any way I can. A number of us (mainly 30 - 40 something mothers!)had considered forming a pressure group but thought that the deal was done and we were too late. After doing some digging I know that it is Macari’s that have won the contract and I do not think that they will do the best thing for Chichester.
    Please feel free to contact me at any time.

  2. Roma Carter says:
    26th March 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Dear Sir,

    I fully support your appeal for the Butter Market to be developed with more understanding of the needs of local consumers and local farmers.
    I feel very strongly that Chichester is a rural town .It is important that this historic building should be developed to reflect this background in an innivoative and profitable way.
    Chichester Council appears to show no regard for its locals; instead choosing to change this historic town into a glorified shopping mall.
    Whilst they might claim to have environmental awareness - this is not evident in that they expect us to travel to large supermarkets rather than buying locally grown, fresh produce.
    Fifty years ago every high street would have had a greengrocers, bakers, butchers and fishmongers - Chichester has indeed taken a backward step.
    The Butter Market was our last opportunity to support local producers - I think that the Council should be thoroughly ashamed with their decision.

    Yours faithfully

    Roma Carter

  3. daisy says:
    3rd July 2008 at 10:02 am

    I was born in Chichester 60 years ago, please stop the carnage and destruction.Visiters love this old city, planners are driving them away. think green think environment you have a beautiful old building, DONT RIP ITS HEART OUT.

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