Our Wonderful Missing Archway

Gateway Arch Southern Entrance to Centurion Way

What We Want to Achieve

We are leading a campaign to reinstate the Archway which was originally installed in November 1995 when Centurion Way was officially opened. The Archway has been sadly missed for these last 7 years after it became unsafe and was removed in 2015. We wholeheartedly believe that its repair would make a wonderful community architectural statement enhancing the whole area, celebrating the entrance to Centurion Way, the newly built Jubilee Park and Minerva Heights.

Centurion Way Arch when first installed

Benefits for Reinstatement

The benefits of restoring the arch would be far-reaching for both physical and mental health and touch many people. It would certainly make a definite contribution to Chichester’s well established reputation for public art. Key benefits are:

  • Improve signage for the Centurion Way as this is minimal at best.
  • Re-establish a meeting and reference point.
  • Emphasize the entrance to the green spaces of the countryside to the North of the City and South Downs National Park.
  • Highlight the links between the other established cycle and pedestrian ways, the Chem Route to the West and Salterns Way to Chichester Harbour Area of Natural Beauty and West Wittering Beach in the South

Put simply the Centurion Way is very important to all those living in and around Chichester, especially the families of all ages living in Minerva Heights helping them integrate with the City centre. It is also an environmental connector to the surrounding areas of Chichester where there is no need to use the car – it is part of the safe walking or dedicated cycling routes, enabling those who use them to keep fit whilst providing positive benefits to mental well being too!

The benefits that Centurion Way brings to all those who know how to find it are obvious and we believe the restoration and reinstatement of the Gateway Arch would send an inspirational message to all the city’s residents in these difficult times.

Our Fundraising Plans

We have sought 3 quotes and we will need to raise nearly £I5,000.  So far we have successfully been awarded a “seed” grant from Chichester City Council (amount not yet known)) which will “kick start” our fund raising project… but this is only the beginning, we have quite a way to go.

Background to the Archway Project

Richard Farrington Created an Archway Sculpture, which Carley Sitwell hopes can be returned to Centurion Way

When Centurion Way was created in 1995 Sustrans commissioned many sculptures that were installed along it’s length. The southern end of the path began where it passed beneath a visually striking archway.

Richard Farringdon used ideas from Bishop Luffa school and wooden ribs from a ship in Portsmouth Harbour to make the archway
Richard Farrington used ideas from Bishop Luffa school and wooden ribs from a ship in Portsmouth Harbour to make the archway

Unfortunately the wooden supports of the archway eventually failed after many years and the sculpture fell down. The remaining elements of the sculpture are now stored in a council warehouse in Drayton. Both the Centurion Way Users Group and the Friends of  Centurion Way are jointly undertaking a feasibility study investigating the refurbishment of Richard Farrington’s Archway Sculpture.

Mark Record got in contact with Richard who was eager to help assist with this project in 2018. Everyone loved this local landmark and wanted to see it put back in place. However the Friends of Centurion Way procrastinated and the project did not move forward until Carley Sitwell  took charge in Spring 2020.

FoCW 2020 Action Plan

Ian Bartle who is the president of the Friends of Centurion Way has contacts with the Weald and Downland Museum. The museum has a wonderful repair workshop and Carley has been investigated if they can help restore the archway. She also contacted Richard Farrington who originally created the sculpture. There are some untidy issues that District Councillor Louise Goldsmith has been helping to clarify. It is not clear who currently owns the sculpture; Centurion Way is classified as a highway and therefore the archway needs to be insured, it is not obvious how to insure a sculpture or who should pay the premium.

The formation of the Friends of Centurion Way was catalysed by the threat of local housing development plans. These still threaten to cut the path off from the rest of the City and unfortunately the long term intentions of our local planing authorities and developers still remain a secret after nearly three years of campaigning. this makes it difficult to know where the Archway could be relocated so that it would be safe from development threats.

The Restoration Project

Julia Smith has been helping Carley put together a professional proposal document that they will jointly use to secure funding and assistance to turn the reinstallation of the sculpture into a reality.

A big section of the local community are excited by the prospect of standing under the archway for it’s reopening celebration and photograph sfor news and television.

Watch this space for updates on this exciting project.

A copy of Julia and Carley’s detailed Summer 2020 proposal is available on the link here.