In My View Column – David Coulthard

| April 2016

Each month, Chichester BID has the opportunity to showcase initiatives, opinions and events through a column in the Chichester Observer.

This column is called ‘In My View’ and quite literally is the view from each of the Chichester BID board members. The contributors to the column alternate per month so keep an eye out for the next insightful piece!

This month’s edition was written by Chichester BID Board Director, David Coulthard and published on 31st March 2016:

In My View… the intangible can often be more valuable than the tangible…

Almost a year since I arrived at Chichester Cathedral, Easter provides a moment to take a breath and reflect. Living as I do in Winchester, and having worked previously in Salisbury, I’ve built up quite a knowledge of cathedral cities. There’s a commonality of pride in their heritage and a recognition that the church at their heart adds something significant for those with and without faith. But there are also differences that set them apart, and I have come to appreciate that Chichester really is particularly blessed. We have a cultural offering that would be the envy of many a city – within a couple of weeks recently, the Festival Theatre launched its new programme and Pallant House Gallery opened a new exhibition showcasing John Piper’s textile designs. We also offer a truly high class shopping experience, combining household names with excellent independent businesses and small chains.

There is no doubt that the two feed off each other – the cultural riches of the city draw footfall which supports the retail and food and drink sectors, and vice versa. This will continue to be important during a period when the high street is under pressure throughout the country – the latest big name to struggle, being BHS. What will also be important is the city’s ability to offer new events that bring people in, and to work together to make coming into Chichester an even more attractive experience. These are two important roles for the Chichester BID to fulfil.

A few years ago I served on the board of a tourism organisation, its members were often very focused on the financial return that their membership fee generated for them. This was entirely sensible, but I was also struck by those who recognised that whilst some of the benefits could be counted, others would be less tangible. BID members also value those intangible benefits, as well as the events that we can all see and count the income from. The BID can represent the views of local businesses, lend weight to planning discussions and take on those issues around the city that deliver for the common good, as well as unlocking funds from other sources. It speaks powerfully of what can be achieved when people commit to working together. Now, about that European Referendum…

David Coulthard, Communar Chichester Cathedral and Director Chichester BID

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