Spotlight on Chichester: property area guide

Spotlight on Chichester: property area guide

Chichester in West Sussex may be just beyond the reach of daily commuters from London but its good-value Victorian terraces and large family houses are attracting plenty of homebuyers, discovers Anthea Masey
* Property area guide on Chichester with average property prices, current houses and flats for sale, best streets, up-and-coming areas and commuting times

* Chichester: new homes update: England's largest carbon neutral development of 750 new homes at Graylingwell Park; plus hundreds of flats and houses being built at Roussillon Park

* Renting in Chichester: popular areas and average prices

* Schools in Chichester, shops, restaurants, parks and leisure facilities

Chichester Harbour
© All pictures by Graham Hussey
The Crown and Anchor pub (above) has a large beer garden overlooking Chichester Harbour

Chichester is the county town of West Sussex. It is 75 miles south-west of London on the A27 coast road. The slow train journey to Victoria takes one and a half hours. It puts this lovely small cathedral city beyond the easy reach of daily commuters but it remains a prized destination for those looking for a second home, those who don’t have to make the daily journey to the capital, home workers and sailing enthusiasts.

Estate agent Mark Astley of the local branch of Jackson-Stops & Staff, says Chichester is perfectly placed. “We are situated between the South Downs National Park, the beautiful beaches of West Wittering and the sailing at Chichester Harbour, and close by there is racing at Goodwood and polo at Cowdray Park,” he explains.

Houses and flats for sale in Chichester
In Chichester’s central conservation area there are streets of fine Georgian houses and smaller period houses. Summersdale, on the northern edge of town, has large Twenties and Thirties detached houses where the entry price is around £750,000.

To the south of the town centre there are attractive streets of Victorian terraces where three-bedroom houses sell for between £230,000 and £250,000. In recent years the area around the canal basin has been regenerated with new flats and townhouses, while there is potential for further improvement.

There are period cottages and houses in the fashionable smaller coastal or estuary towns of Itchenor, Bosham and West Wittering. Local estate agent Stride & Son (01243 782626) has two Georgian houses in North Pallant on the market: one for £2.75 million, the other for £2.3 million.

Prices in general still languish below the level achieved at the height of the last property price boom in autumn 2007 and the average price per square foot is around £365, although higher prices are reached for the most sought-after coastal homes.

A thatched cottage and its English country garden in Taylors Lane, Bosham, near Chichester
One of the most expensive houses currently for sale is in the highly prized area of Old Bosham. Quay House on Shore Road is a five-bedroom modern house of 6,000sq ft which Jackson-Stops & Staff is selling for £3.25 million.

READ MORE... New homes update: Chichester

Travel and commuting: the opening of the Hindhead tunnel on the A3 has greatly improved road links to Chichester. Trains to London Victoria (annual season ticket £4,188) take more than an hour and a half — change at East Croydon for London Bridge. Some commuters travel from Havant to Waterloo (annual season ticket £4,400) with a similar journey time.

Who buys in Chichester: there is a strong local market although Michael Cornish from the local branch of estate agents Chesterton Humberts says that around 40 per cent of his buyers are from outside the area, either looking for a second home or somewhere to retire. The city has a good mix of ages and attracts families looking for schools and access to the great outdoors, with sailing in Chichester Harbour a big draw.

Oving Road
£400,000: this flint-faced house in Oving Road has three bedrooms, an open-plan dining area and a walled garden with patio
Staying power: houses tend to be owned for 20 years or longer and estate agents grumble about the lack of properties to sell.

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Postcodes: Chichester and the surrounding area are in the Portsmouth postcode PO; the city of Chichester is PO19; west of the city including Bosham is in PO18; south-east including Itchenor and West Wittering is in PO20.

Best roads: the best roads within the city walls are North, East, South and West Pallant — which are close to shops and restaurants but surprisingly quiet.
The Avenue and The Drive in Summersdale are about a mile north of the city centre — doctors and surgeons working at St Richard’s Hospital buy here. Chesterton Humberts (01243 531010) is selling a six-bedroom double-fronted Victorian house in The Avenue for £1.2 million.

Other top spots are East and West Strand and Roman Landing in West Wittering; Spinney Lane in Itchenor, Smugglers Lane in Bosham, and the private estate at Bosham Hoe.

READ MORE... renting in Chichester, average prices and popular streets

The 16th-century buttercross, built as a trading spot, lies at Chichester's heart near the cathedral
Up-and-coming areas: prices in the private gated Aldwick Bay Estate are held back by their proximity to Bognor’s urban sprawl. Sidlesham Quay has a nature reserve but is not as popular as other villages.

READ MORE... Best-rated primary and secondary schools in Chichester

Shops and restaurants: Chichester’s shopping streets – East, West, South and North streets – radiate from the early 16th-century gothic market cross a small former covered market.

There is a branch of House of Fraser department store and good selection of high street names, including branches of Jigsaw, LK Bennett and Space NK, as well as more mass market chains such as H&M, Next and Top Shop.

Susie Watson Designs is one of a small chain of decorating shops selling paints in muted shades and lovely hand-printed linens. Foxed Grey is an antique shopping specialising in the shabby chic look.

The chain restaurants have invaded the city with offerings from Carluccio’s, Brasserie Blanc, Cafe Rouge, Cote and Pizza Express. Field & Fork is the restaurant at the Pallant House Gallery and there are popular gastro pubs in the surrounding villages such as the Earl of March in Lavant and the Crab & Lobster at Sidlesham.

Open space: the seagulls are a constant reminder of how close the city is to the sea. There is some of the country’s best sailing from Chichester Harbour, and fine beaches at West Wittering. The Centurion Way is a walking and cycling route on a disused railway line between Chichester and Lavant.

Chichester Harbour is one of the country's best spots for sailing
Leisure and the arts: Glorious Goodwood is one of the highlights of the flat racing season. The Goodwood Estate also plays host to the popular Festival of Speed on the motor racing circuit each year in July.

The Cass Foundation Sculpture Park is nearby. There is also racing at Fontwell and polo at Cowdray Park. The Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton has 45 reconstructed historic buildings. Fishbourne Roman Palace with its dolphin mosaic was only discovered in 1960.

In the city itself there is the listed Powell and Moya-designed Festival Theatre, currently undergoing a £22-million facelift. Pallant House Gallery has permanent collections and major exhibitions. There is a Cineworld multiplex cinema, and Chichester Cinema at New Park is the art cinema. A recent festival of street art has left a legacy of murals on some of the city’s walls.

Council: Chichester district council is Conservative controlled and Band D council tax is currently £1,481.05.

Chichester's 12th-century cathedral can boast works by some of the leading artists of the 20th century
History: There can’t be another 12th-century cathedral that can boast works by some of the leading artists of the 20th century. This must be a distinction enjoyed only by Chichester Cathedral, which thanks to the patronage of Walter Hussey, the dean between 1955 and 1977, commissioned a magnificent tapestry altarpiece from John Piper, a stained-glass window from Marc Chagall and a painting from Graham Sutherland.

Hussey bequeathed his own art collection to Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery, which has one of the finest collections of mid-20th century British art in the country. It all adds to the rich mix of Chichester’s cultural life, best known for its Festival Theatre with the current production of the musical Barnum rumoured to be heading for the West End in the autumn.

Where in Chichester can you see a late lamented Soho drinking club?
The Pallant House gallery in Chichester owns Michael Andrew’s painting Colony Room 1; painted in 1962 it shows regulars of the famously bohemian Dean Street drinking club: the journalist Jeffrey Barnard and painters Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon.

What in Chichester inspired one of Britain’s best-loved 20th century poets to burst into verse?
The touching 14th-century tomb of Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel, and his second wife Eleanor depicts the pair in effigy lying hand in hand their feet resting on their dogs. The tomb in Chichester cathedral inspired Philip Larkin’s poem The Arundel Tomb which contains the final line “What will survive of us is love.”

How did an altercation in a garden in the village of Felpham – now subsumed into the greater Bognor area – lead to a trial for sedition in Chichester’s gothic guildhall?
The poet and artist William Blake lived at Felpham – the house is still there – between 1800 and 1803. Blake evicted a drunken soldier from his garden after which the soldier accused him of cursing the king and he was charged with sedition. He was tried at Chichester’s guildhall, in Priory Park, but as the charges were so clearly trumped up he was acquitted.

Average prices: buying flats and houses in Chichester
One-bedroom flat: £138,000
Two-bedroom flat: £207,000
Two-bedroom house: £238,000
Three-bedroom house: £320,000
Four-bedroom house: £527,000

Pictures by Graham Hussey

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