Residents rebuff ‘boring Chichester’ claim

Casino Royale. Chichester South councillor Len Macey called other councillors boring over the decision

Casino Royale. Chichester South councillor Len Macey called other councillors boring over the decision

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Residents have been speaking out in favour of Chichester after a councillor’s claims that the city is boring.

It follows Chichester South councillor Len Macey’s criticism of the district council’s licensing policy to set the number of casinos and sex shops allowed in the city at zero.

Applications for casinos will be ‘resisted’, and the preferred number of adult entertainment venues is set at ‘nil’, the council’s licensing committee decided.

Cllr Macey was the only councillor to abstain from voting.

He said: “This is just another example of Chichester. I just use one word. Boring!”

The authority has received no applications for a casino in recent years – though the council’s policy suggests any interest would be returned with a notice of the council’s stance.

Mr Macey said a casino would improve the city centre, while he would be open to an adult entertainment venue if there was demand for one.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “My main issue was the fact you are not even allowed to apply for a casino. Are we in Chichester or are we in Russia?

“Town centres are becoming entertainment centres. Things are moving on.”

But his claims that an aversion to those types of establishments made Chichester ‘boring’ has been strongly rebuffed by some of the city’s residents.

“If you are bored in Chichester there is something wrong with you,” said Paul Randall, 71, from Market Road, Chichester.

“I am not bored of this city in the slightest, the culture here is wonderful.”

His wife Judith Randall, 69, said: “Although our children rushed off to London once they grew up, when they had children themselves they wanted to come back here just because they know what a beautiful place it is to live.”

Anne-Marie Hopkins, 64, from Wick Lane, said: “I love Chichester because it has such easy access to everything.

“During the day it is nice to see the hustle and bustle of local people, and I always bump into people I know when I am in the town.

“It is a lovely community to live in, I will never be bored of this town.”

Cllr Macey argued that city centres are becoming more entertainment-focused, and Chichester needs to move on with the times.

It may not be the casinos and sex clubs in demand, but the younger Chichester residents do agree that the city could improve with a better nightlife.

“I don’t mind going for a drink here but if I was looking for a bigger night out I would travel further, maybe to Brighton,” said Charlotte Williams, 30, from Middleton.

“If I was going to the theatre here it would be because I was going with an older relative.

“It is a lovely city to go for a meal and a few drinks but most of the attractions are for a slightly older generation than myself.”

16-year-old Bognor resident, Christos Xenopoulos, added: “I have heard that the nightlife here isn’t that lively so when I turn 18 I will probably go somewhere else for nights out. “I do like the shops here though and it is good to meet up with my friends and spend time in the town centre.”

Chichester College student, Libby Welsh, from Angmering, said: “It does have an older generation feel to it, but the college and university is really good.

A lot of the university students go to Bognor for their nights out because it has more bars and clubs, but I do like the pubs in Chichester – it depends what kind of night you are looking for.”

Read Editor in Chief Gary Shipton’s comment here

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