Chichester Cathedral sculpture breaks the rules

Officials have come under fire for allowing controversial artwork to be temporarily positioned close to Chichester Cathedral without planning permission '“ breaking their own rules.

The sculpture itself was also strongly criticised, with condemnation of its appearance in a sensitive historic location.

Chichester City Council’s planning and conservation committee was told Chichester District Council took the view that because the artwork would not be in position for more than three months, planning consent was not needed.

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But city mayor Tony French and planning adviser Tim Paine said the time limit was up to 28 days, and permission was needed for something in place for longer than this.

“The district council is fundamentally incorrect in not following its own procedures,” said Cllr French.

The committee agreed to ask the district to ensure planning permission was required for any future proposals for the site, so city councillors and others could comment. There was also a call for information about the long-term future of the location.

Cllr Anne Scicluna said the sculpture was a great embarrassment when she was taking tourists around the city, as so many were asking ‘what on earth is that?’

“Personally, I liked the flowerbed it replaced much better,” she added.

Cllr Richard Plowman felt the sooner the statue disappeared, the better.

“We have a city with one of the biggest conservation areas, with listed buildings, and were denied an opportunity to consider an application, its merits and its worthiness,” he said.

“There has been a complete dismissal of the rules. What is the point of having rules?”

But Cllr Pam Dignum said she welcomed the ‘quirky individuality’ of the statue, and rather liked it.

Chichester’s City Centre Partnership was responsible for installing the sculpture.