Creating more short-stay accommodation for people facing homelessness; refurbishing several children’s play areas; work to introduce food waste recycling collections; and, bringing a festive ice-skating rink to Chichester, are just some of the key projects that councillors at Chichester District Council have agreed to move forward with.
The projects were outlined in the council’s new Corporate Plan until 2025, which was approved at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 23 January 2024.
In addition, other projects will include reviewing the leisure centre management contract, which is due to come to an end, and replacing CCTV at the council’s depot site. The council will also start initial planning work to introduce food waste recycling collections from domestic properties in the district in 2026, in line with Government legislation.
The council’s Cabinet also agreed to release just over £143,000 to fund some of the work, while Full Council agreed that a further £3.6 million should be set aside for the projects.
“We’ve identified a wide range of new projects which will benefit residents across the district,” explains Councillor Adrian Moss, Leader of Chichester District Council. “The most pressing issue is increasing the amount of temporary accommodation we have, to house people who are facing homelessness. In 2022, we extended our short stay accommodation, with a brand-new purpose building which has made a huge difference, but we need to increase this further to meet demand.
“The cost-of-living crisis continues to affect many people in the district. In the past six months alone, 115 households have joined our housing register, and we expect more people to come forward as a result of the crisis.
“At the moment, our council is spending a significant amount of money on nightly paid accommodation, so we are keen to look at ways that we can reduce this, while helping people access the appropriate accommodation that they need. Homes for all is one of our key priorities as a council and so we will really be driving this key project forward as a matter of urgency.”
The council will also be looking at a project to refurbish play parks at Florence Park; Oaklands Park; Priory Park; Sherbourne Park; and Whyke Oval. These sites have been selected because they are where the most urgent attention is currently needed.
“Parks and play areas are integral to people’s quality of life,” says Cllr Moss. “They provide accessible and inclusive spaces for people to exercise, socialise, learn and relax, and so we are keen to press forward and consult with each park’s local community to find out their views and what their opinions are on what should be included.”
This year, the council will also start planning for the procurement process for the leisure contract, which covers the council’s three leisure centres in Chichester, Southbourne and Midhurst.
Boosting the local economy is another key aim of the council. It is hoped that delivering a real ice-skating rink in Priory Park, Chichester, for the winter period in 2024 will help encourage more people to visit the city centre who will in turn spend money in local shops, bars and restaurants.
“Introducing the food waste recycling service will be a huge undertaking for the council and we will need to invest more than £4.5 million,” says Cllr Moss. “The project will also include buying new vehicles and bins; looking at how the new service will be accommodated on the depot site; waste transfer and processing points; designing efficient rounds; recruiting staff; and, roll-out of the service so there will be lots to plan over the next two years.
“Along with all the other projects mentioned we are really looking forward to serving our communities and bringing these improvements to residents, which we believe will have a hugely positive effect on people across the district.”
Residents will be able to read the council’s refreshed Corporate Plan at:www.chichester.gov.uk/corporateplan