Chichester University is leading a regeneration project which engages with the city and Oaklands Park jointly with Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council and the Chichester festival Theatre. It involves creating a cultural route from the city to the university and the development of ideas for a theatre training facility for the university at Oakland’s Park House. It will also lead to ideas for redefining car parking which is the first and visually uncomfortable threshold to the theatre and route when leaving the town centre. There is a strong sense of disconnection between the City centre, the CFT complex and the University.
The project’s study should enable the various stakeholders to share a common connexity vision and the potential for introducing cultural events which will enhance the attractiveness of the town as a whole.
The proposal concentrates on the separation of pedestrian movement from vehicular movement to make the environs around the theatre safer. The introduction of a tree-lined boulevard through Northgate car park or a landscaped wall that obscures the car park from view constructed from gabions (steel
cages) filled with blue flint. Either approach will help define the beginnings of a route through to a new theatre piazza.
It is proposed that a new shared pedestrian and cycle pathway from the ‘pedestrian Piazza’ towards Oaklands Park House and Chichester University is ‘cut’ into the landscape. This would have a dual effect of hiding the pathway when looking east
across Oaklands Park whilst creating a powerful abstract sculptural landscape – a landscape in which those travelling along the path would appear to be partially ‘submerged’ into the park. It is also envisaged that pieces of sculpture could be placed along the walk.