Lessons can be learnt with Velo South event

Velo Birmingham 2017
Velo Birmingham 2017

The unpredictable British weather returned on the weekend impacting events throughout the district. The Priory Park 100 Anniversary week kicked off on a rather soggy Saturday, fortunately many events were undercover, but whilst attendance was undoubtedly dampened, people’s spirits remained high.

There was an art exhibition in the Guild Hall with some serious talent on display including an amazing clay sculpture of Maurice Patten, a soldier from WWI who joined the Royal Sussex Regiment in Chichester and later died of his wounds in 1916.

The whole event was themed around the centenary of WWI and we now have a rather striking display of poppies cascading down a hill in Priory Park. The park is much loved by the residents of Chichester and is put to good use. I met the triumphant ‘Chichester A’ bowls team who recently beat ‘Tarring Priory A’ making them the West Sussex League division-one champions. The district council is working on plans to upgrade facilities in Priory Park and the bowls teams hope to extend the facilities to include indoors bowls. Over the summer the park was also alive with archaeological excitement as we uncovered fascinating discoveries including a luxurious Roman bath made of mortar, tiles and bricks left untouched for more than 1,600 years. This public dig highlighted the city’s rich history, and all these years later this park continues to provide much enjoyment for the families of Chichester.

The weather also led to the cancellation of the controversial cycling event Velo South. Perhaps this was fortuitous as there was much unhappiness with the level of consultation and the fact many residents and businesses were unable to use the roads for seven or eight hours.

Velo organisers, CSM, have already said they hope to run the event next year, and certainly lessons can be learnt from this year to ensure affected communities can work with the organisers and councils to make the event less disruptive to residents and businesses.

In the political world the conference season has begun. The Lib Dems were first in Brighton then next came the Labour Party in my home city of Liverpool. This week I will be heading to Birmingham for the Conservative Party conference which includes four days of speeches, debates, policy discussion and no doubt a wide variety of opinions on our relationship with the EU post Brexit... currently, a weekend is a long time in politics!