to Chichester, Petersfield & Portsmouth
Directory sponsored by Violet Designs

Chichester and Portsmouth are two sides of the same coin.

Chichester is a typical market town and still has at its centre the market cross (picture below) and many fine old buildings. Portsmouth, a naval town, has until recently been a bit of a mess. It is now transformed with stylish new developments, especially along the front and adjoining the Harbour. And, of course, just 15 minutes away across the water is the Isle of Wight and its rich heritage and gentle way of life.

Quite simply, there is a huge future for Portsmouth. Anybody wanting to make a killing in property should be sizing up the opportunities now for a bonanza in 2012. What's the secret and what's going on?

The answer in short is .... HINDHEAD.

Anyone who is familiar with the A3 knows of the Hindhead bottleneck. In 2009 the new 6 km dual carriageway and 1.9 km two-lane tunnel is being started and should be completed in 2012. When this happens the travel time to Portsmouth will be reduced by up to 20 minutes!. It makes for a seamless road system with the A4, and the Thames Corridor computer belt. Growth will be immediate and rapid.

At the present time business on the South Coast is esentially east-west following the geography and the road sytem. Its easier to get from Southampton to Chichester than from Chichester to Guildford. North-south business development has been, at best, fractured. The road system is largely to blame. But, it is also the psychology of the geography, and in particular the South Downs and the Surrey Hills at Hindhead which create a physical mass in the way of north-south movement. So the T shaped road network which will be the feature of 2012 communications is going to change perceptions and the reality of getting together. Its effect is going to be ... absolutely GIGANTIC!

Although Portsmouth is going to be the place to make money, Chichester (Market Cross pictured left) and the surrounding countryside will be the place to live..... if you are lucky to afford it! Best to look early. Emsworth and other gem-like villages now free from the old A27 pollution and noise have become havens of tranquillity and play host to Good Good Guide Restaurants and other fine-life establishments.

Londoners may well be sizing up the options for a career and a concommitant life-style change. What if I were to start a business on the South Coast. How do I start? What are the chances of having a place in Normandy or Britanny?

SAVILLS have "singled out the main road down to Portsmouth, via Fulham, Cobham and Guildford, as the most sought-after region in the country for homebuyers. The average cost of a property per square foot in the UK is £220; in the villages and towns off the A3, values vary between £250 and £700 per sq ft" - Times, February 12th 2010.

Here are some options to consider. 1. Have a flat in Chichester, a business address or offfice at Forum House, Chichester and a main home in Brittany or Normandy? 2. Have a flat in London and a main home in the West Sussex or Hampshire countryside.? 3. Have a house on the Isle of Wight and a business in Portsmouth. These are three popular scenarios. Nobody in his right senses would start a business in France with its restrictions and bureaucracy. But, living there with a business based in England, that's a different story.

Let's say you work in London and just want to commute. The practical options are: 1. Have a house in Petersfield, Liphook or Liss; or up the line in Haslemere. Or in Midhurst and its northern hamlets and villages like Henley, Fernhurst, Lurgashall, Lickfold and Lodsworth.Anywhere south of Midurst is just not practical... take it from me, my wife works in London Bridge and we know the logistics off by heart! So, Grafham is OUT. So really is Petworth. A shame, as its a nice place to have a house. If you are north of the Town OK but some distance south is a no-goer.

Petersfield is the growth town for commuters. It has a terrific ambience. Parking for the station is a nightmare though. It's probably the only draw-back. You just have to think laterally to work out what's best for you.

Why is Petersfield so popular? The countryside is one reason and all the beautiful villages. Access to another vibrant gem-like town Midhurst is another, but, the vital ingredients for its popularity are (a) its proximity to the A3 motorway, (b) its main-line station on the London Waterloo line and (c] it's feeling of community which hits you like a sledgehammer. Take this cameo of life in Petersfield. My wife had been told by her nutritionist she needs Hemp Oil for her diet; and Hemp Oil means Good Oil produced by a Devon farmer .. and a film celeb!. The only stockist locally is Waitrose in Petersfield. Good Oil is in short supply. When I visited Waitrose it was out of stock. But, they couldn't have been more helpful. They took my phone number and rang me when they had some news. No Good Oil for a few days, they said. Will ring you again. And they did.

When you go into Waitrose, Petersfield, it's not like other supermarkets. The staff seem to be enjoying themselves and talk to the customers as if they are personal friends. It is a small town community at work and at its best. What a store! Petersfield people smile at you in the street. You're made to feel welcome, and you are!

For me then Petersfield stands for GOOD OIL and the GOOD LIFE.

When planning your relocation to the Chichester-Portsmouth area stay at Abelands, a stylish, upmarket B&B which we illustrate below. Or, if you are looking in the Midhurst area consult the Tourist Office in North St, open Mon-Sat 9.15am until 4.15pm, phone:01730 817322. They have a list of quality local B&B's. Should you be travelling late an illustated list is placed in the Office window.

Editor, Country Towns.