Campaigns

Brickworks:

The Society was extremely concerned about the noise implications of the proposal by Bepton Investments Ltd to separate and crush stone and concrete on this site. We objected on two occasions emphasising the need for stringent conditions about noise mitigation if any permission were to be given.  We pointed out that Midhurst  Common  is crossed by public paths,  which are statutory rights of way and there is a general right for the public to roam on this registered  common land.  We stressed that any excessive noise would destroy the present peaceful atmosphere for people taking air and exercise on the Common as well as impacting on local residents.   Planning permission has now been granted but we were relieved to see that it is limited to 5 years and is subject to stringent conditions. The Committee intends to monitor work on the site to ensure that the conditions are complied with.

Waitrose:

Many local people attended the exhibition at the Grange and gave their support to the idea of Waitrose coming to Midhurst.   The information provided was somewhat limited.   We considered that the inclusion of a coffee shop was undesirable as it would take business away from the coffee shops already in the town.   Car parking plans will need to be looked at carefully in view of the public money which has already been spent on the Grange car park.   So whilst we do not envisage raising an objection in principle to a Waitrose store, we felt we needed to await a planning application before deciding what comments should be made on behalf of the Society.   It is disappointing that no application has yet been made and there is currently uncertainty about the proposal.

Minerals:

The Consultation paper by SDNPA and WSCC has given rise to considerable concern locally.  Of the sites identified in the area those of greatest concern to the Society are Severals East and West and Hawkhurst Farm. We have responded to the consultation emphasising that the prospect of a substantial number of additional  traffic movements through Midhurst and the surrounding countryside causes us great concern.   The filling of the Pendean pit with inert material has demonstrably increased lorry movements through Midhurst.  The loss of significant areas of wood and heathland, if any of these areas were adopted, will need to be carefully taken into account in the analysis of the options.  We await the next stage in the process of formulating a Plan.

 

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Midhurst’s Memorial Hall gets its place in history.

WHEN treasured plaques were removed from the Memorial Hall in Midhurst there were fears the historical significance of the much loved old building would be lost forever.

But now thanks to members of the Midhurst Society, its importance has been preserved.

Chairman of the society Sheila Ryan said: “When Capron House and adjoining buildings were acquired by the South Downs Park Authority and were immediately shrouded in builders’ hoarding, there was apprehension in Midhurst, rightly or wrongly, the ‘Memorial Hall’ would lose its historic identity.

“This belief was perhaps exacerbated by the removal from the hall to Midhurst Rother College of the First World War Memorial, together with a memorial to the much respected and long-standing headmaster of the Midhurst Grammar School, NBC Lucas.

“The Midhurst Society, which is always concerned about the preservation of the history of Midhurst’s listed buildings, decided to provide a short record of the history of the Grade II listed Hall and the South Downs National Park Authority welcomed this offer.”

In drawing up the history the society drew on the recollections of its vice-president, Henry Bond, a pupil at the grammar school in the years between the wars, and of Dr Joe Vitagliano, principal of Midhurst Rother College.

And now a framed notice, containing a photograph of the war memorial to grammar school boys killed in the first world war has been handed over to Helene Rossiter, director of corporate services at the SDNPA, and her colleagues by Mrs Ryan who was accompanied by Mr Bond and members of the executive committee of the society.

The notice will hang on the wall formerly occupied by the war memorial as a reminder to everyone of the part played by the hall over its long history since its construction in 1821 as SCHOLA GRAMMATICALIS.

“Importantly,” said Mrs Ryan, “the notice confirms that in its new existence as part of the SDNPA headquarters the ‘Memorial Hall’ will continue to be known as such.”

As it appeared in the Midhurst and Petworth Observer.

Dundee House:

This vacant site which is owned by Frazer Nash, has become something of an eyesore in this part of Midhurst (on the corner leading in to Budgen’s). The proposal to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with two retail units, plus office space and four one-bedroom flats on the first floor, seemed to be a welcome solution.  The Planning Committee of the South Downs Park Authority refused planning permission for this scheme due to concerns about the design of the proposed building.  The Society supported the applicant’s appeal which was successful, and following the grant of planning permission in February 2015  it is pleasing to see that the  site is now advertised for development for retail and residential purposes.

Clutter in Midhurst Town Centre:

We have written to the Town Council to express concern over excessive clutter in the main streets of Midhurst. Whilst we do not believe that we want a completely clear street, and we want the town to look busy and active, there are certain aspects which are unattractive and potentially dangerous.

We are particularly concerned about

Excessive numbers of billboards along North Street (although we recognise that some of these may be appropriate where they advertise shops that are not in North Street).
Clothes racks on the pavements outside some charity and clothes shops in North Street and Knockhundred Row
Plastic strips for advertising purposes on some shops and pubs.
Merchandise encroaching on the pavement such as Marmadukes in Rumbolds Hill.

We will continue to monitor the situation.

Signage to Midhurst from the new A3 Tunnel at Hindhead.

We share the concerns of local businesses about the impact of the absence of Midhurst from the road signs to the south of the new A3 tunnel. We have corresponded with the local MP and with the Highways Agency authority responsible to raise our concerns and to seek an answer about why Midhurst was omitted from the signs and how this could be rectified. To date the responses continue to be less than satisfactory. We need to keep this under review.

Extension to the Midhurst Conservation Area

The Society has submitted comments on the proposals to extend the existing conservation area in the town centre. We raised concerns about the appropriateness of some areas such as in Bepton Road and the area around the Wharf. Although the Wharf area is of historical significance and merits some protection on that basis (the bridge is already a listed building through the efforts of the Society) the buildings in Wharf Road are mostly industrial, which may not be appropriate for a conservation area. Our full comments are available on request.

If you have a view on any of these items, please contact us at chair@midhurstsociety.org.uk