Taking place on Monday 20 May, 7pm until 11pm.

Chichester Cathedral training exercise


Emergency services are holding a large training exercise in Chichester on Monday 20 May 2024. During this time, several road closures will be in place from 7pm until 11pm with limited access for residents.

What is the exercise? 

Firefighters will simulate a major fire at Chichester Cathedral, and there will be a significant amount of smoke issuing from the landmark.

This will test the emergency procedures that are currently in place for incidents involving the cathedral.

Partner agencies (including Sussex Police, South East Coast Ambulance Service and West Sussex Highways) will immerse themselves in a real-life operational situation and work together to resolve the training scenario.

Residents are invited to come along during the training exercise and watch the exercise unfold. The best viewing points will be found at the city cross (East Street side, in front of HSBC bank) and in front of the old House of Fraser building. Please note: safety cordons will be in place and these must be adhered to.

Road closures

The following road closures will be in place throughout the duration of the exercise:

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Permanent road closures from 7pm until 11.30pm:

  • Junction of Canal Place and Canal Wharf, round to Basin Road (access to Kingsham Road)
  • Avenue De Chartres (westbound)
  • Basin road junction towards Kingsham Road
  • Bus station to Southgate (access only to Brampton Court Care Home, the rail station car park and Smith and Weston).

Temporary closures (expected until no later than 8pm):

  • Junction of Terminus Road (leading to railway)
  • Avenue De Chartres (eastbound)
  • South Street (access to the cross)

Police officers will be on-hand to advise should you need to access a road that is closed, but please try to make alternative arrangements when travelling privately during these times. Public transport will be running as normal.

Frequently asked questions

Will the nesting peregrines be affected by the exercise? 

We would like to reassure residents that, as guided by ornithological experts, fire crews will be working away from the North East turret of the Cathedral where it is believed that the peregrines are nesting this year, and only synthetic smoke will be used. Synthetic smoke is completely safe and will not cause the protected species any issues or discomfort.

It is of upmost importance to both West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and Chichester Cathedral that the peregrines remain safe, happy and undisturbed, particularly during their breeding season. Therefore, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service remains in constant communication with the necessary stakeholders (such as Chichester Cathedral, the Sussex Ornithological Society and local wildlife enthusiasts), ensuring that the falcons welfare is of greatest importance.

Why are there so many road closures?

Fire crews will be utilising the water supply at Chichester Canal, which will see a lot of emergency service vehicles in the area. This level of preparedness is in place using lessons learnt from the Notre Dame fire.

We will be closing the roads for everyone’s safety, but police officers will be on-hand to advise should you need to access a road that is closed. 

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