Chichester district ‘place branding and identity plan’ could help aid economic recovery

District councillors have suggested that tens of thousands of pounds be spent coming up with a ‘brand’ for the Chichester district.
View towards Chichester from the TrundleView towards Chichester from the Trundle
View towards Chichester from the Trundle

During a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday (June 15), members recommended that a specialist be taken on to come up with a ‘comprehensive place branding and district identity plan’ in an effort to aid economic recovery.

Committee chair Adrian Moss (Lib Dem, Harbour Villages) said: “I believe this is something that we should be doing as a local authority because I think it could really help.”

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Pointing out many of the attractions offered by the city and the district, he added: “We have so many really important aspects that are part of the sales message that encourages people to live and work here, that encourages companies to come here and build their businesses.

“But also we need to understand what we want the area to look like and feel like for our communities. That’s what I think the branding can do for us.”

A report presented to the meeting estimated that branding would cost between £50,000 and £65,000 to put in place.

While officers acknowledged that it would help to promote the area as desirable for tourism and business, others were concerned that this work was already being carried out under other brands – such as the various Visions and Invest Chichester.

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Carol Purnell (Con, Sidlesham & Selsey North) said the branding would be ‘redoing things other people have done’ while Sarah Sharp (Green, Chichester South) said the council needed to be sure of the benefits and ‘very aware of what our residents want’.

There was support for the idea from Tracie Bangert (Lib Dem, Southbourne), who felt branding would help the district to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

She said: “Covid-19 has taken its unremitting toll on businesses in Chichester and the district. But it sometimes feels like we’re quite unsure in the way we promote what we’ve got.”

Calling it a ‘once in a generation opportunity to raise the profile of the district’, she added: “I know that re-branding is costly but this is an investment for the future that will bring us a significant return.”

The committee agreed by seven votes to two to recommend the idea of branding to the cabinet, which is next due to meet on July 6.