Petworth is a traditional rural town set within the South Downs National Park north-west of Chichester in West Sussex.
Although thousands of visitors arrive each year to see the 17th Century Petworth House and the Capability Brown designed parklands, like many other towns Petworth is affected by social and economic changes.
To ensure Petworth remains an attractive place for residents, businesses and visitors, the local community has been engaged in an initiative to develop a programme of measures that will address important issues including traffic, the retail economy and the quality of the built environment.
Because the only route into Petworth is by road, first impressions are determined by the experience of following the one-way system along Park Road when approaching from the south or along the A272 to East Street if approaching from the north and along Angel Street -the A283 if approaching from the east.
Whilst the sweep around the one-way system can provide a tantalising glimpse of the town to newcomers, the location of the car park entrance means that a visitor can either miss it by mistake or decide to simply drive on.
As most people arrive by car or coach they will park in the Pound Street car park. The effective entrance to the town is through the small shopping arcade adjacent to Golden Square. Within the context of the town, the environment in the arcade is presentable, but the view across the car park does give the impression of being the back entrance and apart from a dilapidated fingerpost, the lack of information provides no clue to what can be found within the town centre. Given the quality of the town and mix of retail and other attractions on offer, there is a need to improve this area to make it attractive, welcoming and informative.