LETTER: Roman bronze statue for city

As a long-standing resident of Chichester I was interested in your report on the success of Roman Week which had produced an increase of 33 per cent in local trade.

I hope that it will be repeated annually.

Chichester is a very attractive historic city but more should be done to capitalise on its origins – its very existence is due to the Romans.

There is not much visual evidence of that period in the city centre today.

As part of the current Chichester Vision project and to draw attention to our Roman heritage there is a need for an icon such as the statue of Alfred the Great in Winchester or Abraham Lincoln in Manchester.

Your correspondents David Breeze and John Hutchings recently drew attention to the important part played by Vespasian, the Commander of the Second Augusta Legion, following the invasion in AD43.

Vespasian was responsible for the colonisation and development of the south-eastern part of the province including the Isle of Wight over the next ten years.

This included the settlement of Noviomagus Reginorum (later Chichester).

Vespasian was subsequently proclaimed Emperor and ruled from AD69 to 79.

He restored peace to the Roman world and the finances of the state.

He initiated the construction of the Colosseum in Rome - still one of the most recognisable buildings in Europe .

The chronicles show that he set a noble example of simplicity and economy in his personal life.

Unlike Caligula and Nero, Vespasian was popular, astute and hard-working.

An ideal candidate for a bronze statue in the city centre!

The obvious site is the vacant plinth in the line of trees by the Cathedral.

This would be opposite the Dolphin and Anchor which archaeologists believe is the site of the Forum and Basilica.

Such a work of art would not need to be funded from council tax. You recently reported that the district council is holding a considerable sum of money given by developers under planning legislation and still not spent.

Following agreement, a small part of that could be used together with a possible contribution from Chichester BID, who have previously supported environmental works, particularly where they contribute to increased footfall and trade.

I have discussed this with leading members of the district and city councils, relevant senior officers and the manager of Chichester BID.

They have all expressed interest and will I hope support the idea as part of the Chichester Vision project.

Michael Sharp

Tollhouse Close

Chichester