I was thinking about Chichester last night, and made a few searches looking for good websites about the city – conclusion – there are no really good websites about the city.
But what I really got thinking about was the fact that we take so much of the city for granted – on my way to work I walk past a 900-year-old cathedral (so close I could touch it). On my way home (variety being the spice of life) I walk through the arches of the 500-year-old market cross. When I used to cycle everywhere (now I walk), I would lean my bike against the medieval wall at the back of my flat. Cicestrians mainly just walk past these places (or get drunk under them in the case of the Cross) without giving them a second thought, but if you stop to look at them, they are pretty impressive.
The problem for young(ish) people in the city is that all this antiquity is matched by little or no modernity. There are hardly any amenities for young people – ok, we have the Festival and Minerva Theatres, which are great but seen as largely inaccessible by many people under the age of 30. The New Park Film Centre is brilliant, showing many “art house” films that you are otherwise unlikely to see without a trip to London (which means driving 125 miles as the last train back from London leaves at 10.15pm – pathetic) – but we have no large multiscreen cinema (although that is soon to be put right). Bowling? nope. Nightclubs? one, two miles out of town, and generally rated as “crap”. Late licence bars? you are joking aren’t you?! And all this in spite of the fact that the city has a massive student population.
So, here is my shopping list for Chichester:
– people that appreciate what we have already;
– some large retail premises – Chichester is cursed by only having small stores;
– a decent club;
– late licences at the best bars;
– more for the kids;
– better rail services;
– more new buildings of high quality – less of the eternal sprawl of granny flats.
I’m sure I’ll think of more later.