Planning


Former Brickworks, Bepton Road:



The SDNP Local Plan Pre-submission document had this to say:

The West Sussex County Council Depot and former Brickworks site is allocated for a residential-led development (class C3 use). A masterplan for the whole site should be submitted as part of any Outline or Full planning application. Development for between approximately 65 to 90 dwellings will be permitted. Development for other complementary uses will be permitted where such uses are justified through the whole-site masterplan, and are shown to meet a local need. Planning permission will not be granted for any proposals which prejudice the whole of the site being bought forward for development. The National Park Authority will prepare a Development Brief to assist the delivery of the site.

Detailed proposals that are in broad conformity with the Development Brief and that meet the following site specific development requirements will be permitted:
a) Deliver an ecosystem services-led solution to mitigate the sensitive interface with Midhurst Common, provide positive enhancements to wildlife habitats within and surrounding the site, and contribute to the aims of the Stedham, Iping, Woolbeding Cresence Biodiversity Opportunity Area;
b) To demonstrate that there would be no likely significant effect on the Singleton and Cocking Tunnels Special Area of Conservation;
c) Provide wildlife corridors within the site as part of a site-specific Wildlife Management and Enhancement Plan; d) Provide high-quality pedestrian links through the site linking into Midhurst Common and hence the long distance Serpent Trail;
e) Retain, or relocate to an appropriate location to be approved by the Authority, the Household Recycling Facility ensuring an equivalent standard and capacity of provision;
f) Safeguard a suitable vehicular access route through the Depot site to allow for vehicular access to the former Brickworks site direct from Bepton Road;
g) Provide a pedestrian / cycle / emergency vehicle access to the former Brickworks site from Station Road; 
h) Provide suitable on-site surface water drainage and;
i) The location of new housing and access roads  to have regard to localised areas of potential surface water flood risk.

We responded to the Local Plan in general and also with regard to specific proposals.  This is our written submission to the SDNPA concerning the Brickworks site in November 2017.   Submission to SDNPA

Nothwithstanding our concerns, when the Plan was called in by the Planning Inspectorate, the Inspector found in favour of the submission regarding this site.  A summary of the Inspector's conclusions can be found   here
 


Midhurst Bowls Club site


site plan

view from June Lane

Midhurst Bowls Club in June Lane has outgrown its present site, which in any event presents awkward pedestrian access and no off-street parking.  They would like to re-locate and join forces with the Tennis Club across the road, with purpose-built pavilion and off-street parking.

To do so they would need to raise funds by selling the existing site to a developer.  Several planning applications have been submitted but each one has been rejected.  In February 2019 a new application was made, which the Club believes deals adequately with previous objections.
 

We have perused the latest application and whilst we support the idea in principal we have concerns.  In commenting to SDNPA we declared our stance as 'Neutral'.  Our full response can be read   here

Subsequently, CDC rejected the application because it doesn't provide for affordable housing.  Specifically: Bryn Jones Housing Enabling Officer, commented:
"This application seeks to deliver 6 residential units. In line with the emerging South Downs Local Plan Policy SD28, 2 affordable homes are required, 1 of which should be an affordable rented tenure.
"Due to the size of the scheme, applying the SD27 mix requirements provides fractions of units. Rounding up/down would result in a market mix requirement of 2 x 2 bedroom and 2 x 3 bedroom units. However, the Housing Delivery Team would support the provision of 1 bedroom units as these are more affordable for 1st time buyers and would help balance out the existing stock which is heavily weighted towards the larger 3+ bedroom units.
"To conclude, the Housing Delivery Team is unable to support this application until the mix of units is amended to reflect the above requirements."

In June 2019 the developer submitted a Finanical Viability Statement, demonstrating (in his opinion) that he couldn't afford to build the mix of housing units required by CDC - and that he should be allowed to build according to the earlier submission.

 

A familiar dilemma.  Allow the site to remain undeveloped, or allow a developer to build something that is inappropriate or unwanted.
 


Dundee House:


Dundee House, after being empty for many years

Artist impression of new development

The bulldozers move in



A planning application was made in June 2018 for the demolition of existing B1(c) industrial building with ancillary offices and erection of 16 No. retirement (over 55s) units with associated works.


This building (also known as the old Frazer-Nash building, before that it housed Scott's Cakes) has been empty for a number of years and the site has become an eyesore.  The artist's impression of the new building is a marked improvement, and we therefore offered our support of the application with a written submission to the SDNPA.    Letter to SDNPA

We had reservations but this is what we posted on Facebook on 23 April 2019:

"Revised plans were submitted this month but the basics haven't changed: 16 units for over-55s.

"One might question the need for more housing for the elderly, rather than young families. And one might question the wisdom of locating vulnerable people between a busy road (sometimes with standing traffic) and a car park. And one might wonder why 32 people would only need 11 car parking spaces. Perhaps we are expected to stop driving when we get to 55.

"Having said all that it seems churlish to object when this site is an eyesore and has lain neglected for years"

In fact, approval was granted and demolition commenced in May 2019.

 


Lamberts Lane: Old Tennis Court

Proposals were made for the construction of 22 dwellings on this site, later reduced to 20.  We were generally supportive of the application but pleaded (22 January 2018) that provision be made for a footpath/cycleway linking Lamberts Lane with the existing footpath from June Lane towards Whip Hill.  It wasn't taken up.

Harvey Tordoff, who usually handles our responses to planning applications, lives in Lamberts Lane and felt it was inappropriate for him to comment on behalf of The Midhurst Society.  On 26 January 2018 he responded as a neighbour, with particualr reference to the traffic and parking issues.     view PDF 

Permission was granted and construction began in 2019.

 


Site Plan



Raising the roof

Park Crescent / Lamberts Lane

This site is identified as Park Crescent but in reality it is an extention of the Lamberts Lane development on the site of the old tennis court, with which it shares the same access. 

And so, in reality, having been knocked back from 22 units to 20 units, the developers sought permission for another 9 units. On 23rd April 2019 we lodged   our objection
 

This was the advice from Benjamin Terry, Design Officer, SDNPA on 10 June 2019:
"I am unable to support the proposed development of 9 dwellings at Park Crescent, Midhurst. The amount of development will cause long-term harm to the character of the site and its surroundings. The density of this development is not compatible with site constraints: its topography (rising land), existing trees (two Tree Preservation Orders) or its edge of settlement location.

"Equally, the scale of development has not responded to those constraints. In fact, it intensifies the visual impact of the site to the south as it blocks out the existing ridgeline development of Park Crescent and June Lane (when viewed from Lamberts Lane or Midhurst College).

"There are elements of the scheme that have improved (following previous advice), but on the whole, this scheme does very little to enhance natural or built environs in Midhurst. My overall feeling is that the amount of development exceeds what is appropriate for the site, the scale of built-form should be reduced and their architectural response should be refined."


View of the site, from Lamberts Lane, looking across the development site for 22 units

Minerals & Soft Sand:

On 2 March 2019 in response to the Inspector's Report (the Manning Report recommending that sites in the SDNP be reconsidered for the extraction of soft sand) we argued that the Inspector had failed to give due regard to Government policy on National Parks.  We lodged this argument with SDNPA and copied various other interested parties.  Please feel free to download
the   attached PDF 
to use when making your own responses.


SDNPA acknowledged receipt of our comments with a standard response:  Your consultation comments will help guide and inform the preparation of the version of the review to be submitted to Government for consideration of its soundness and legality (this will be known as the Proposed Submission Soft Sand Review).

What Happens Next?
 
After the close of the consultation period on the 18 March 2019, the Authorities will consider the comments, undertake further technical work where necessary, and prepare the preferred strategy.  This will be set out as a schedule of modifications to the soft sand sections of the adopted Joint Minerals Local Plan, and may include the potential need for site allocations.  These will be subject to for formal period of public consultation during summer 2019, to allow representations to be made on their soundness and legal and procedural compliance, in accordance with Regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) Regulations 2012, before submission to the Secretary of State for independent examination by a Government-appointed Planning Inspector.

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On 22 January 2018 in response to the publication of the Schedule of Proposed Modifications to the West Sussex Joint Minerals Local Plan (which we understand now covers the extraction of soft sand) we submitted this   Representation to WSCC.

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On 11 November 2017 we submitted this   letter to the Midhurst & Petworth Observer.
 


What a quarry looks like (Pendean)



Some of the sites that are to be re-examined

Centurion Way

The Centurion Way provides a path for non-motorised traffic (bikes, buggies, wheelchairs, pedestrians) from Chichester to West Dean.  There are plans to extend it as far as Midhurst, and the section between Hombush and the A272 (Cowdray Farm Shop & Cafe) is currently subject to a feasibility study.

A planning application for the extension from West Dean to Cocking Hill is open for comment.  

Comments submitted at 8:52 AM on 02 Mar 2019 from - Midhurst Society.

Customer Details
Name: - Midhurst Society
Email: MidhurstSociety@bigger-picture.co.uk
Address: 1 Gilbert Hannam Close, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9FY
 
 
   
Stance: Customer made comments in support of the Planning Application
Reasons for comment:  
Comments: Our roads are becoming increasingly dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. A National Park should strive to provide safe non-vehicle routes to encourage people to enjoy the landscape in safety whilst not adding to pollution. And faced with the nation's growing obesity problem, people should be given every opportunity for more exercise.

This is a wonderful project. We posted details on our Facebook page. There was tremendous support, and not one voice against. Please allow this dream to become a reality.

 


The Old Grange site - 2018/2019

SDNPA responded to the pre-planning application with a comprehensive report on 17 January 2019.  In principle, and despite their recommendations for the site in their own Local Plan, they are not averse to the idea of a residential nursing home.  The report advises the developer what aspects of the proposal would need to be changed in order to receive planning consent. 

The report (Decision) can be read in full at 

https://planningpublicaccess.southdowns.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=PEBYAPTU0KO00
 

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On 8 September 2018 we submitted a letter to the Chichester Observer.  The text can be seen here

  Letter to Chi Observer

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On 3 September 2018 we sent an email to Tony Dignum, Chichester DC,

copied to Steve Morley and Gordon McAra

A copy of the email can be seen here   email to CDC
 

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This is a copy of an   email sent on 30 August 2018 to local councillors Steve Morley and Gordon McAra:

Both councillors said they had not been consulted and were opposed to the idea of a Care Home on this site.

 


The Old Grange site - 2017

"

Letter submitted to the Midhurst & Petworth Observer on 1 July 2017:

"We fully support the aims of the Midhurst Community Land Trust in tackling the shortage of affordable housing in the area.  Whether the Waitrose site should be used is a moot point; we also recognise the benefits another supermarket would bring to the town.  However, the site has been an eye-sore for too long, and whilst these future possibilities are being explored some effort could be made to improve its appearance and even put it to good use.  We would like to propose that the Council takes down the ugly hoardings and grasses the site.  It would not cost a great deal and would be easily reversible if and when a decision is finally made.  The Midhurst Society would be prepared to fund the cost of three seats for the quiet enjoyment of residents and visitors."


Unofficial response:
"Officers at CDC understand how much better the site could look however they are very aware that during this period of austerity and subsequent cut backs, the use of funds on such a short term project could well be conceived as frivolous by some residents.  
Further, and more strongly, they feel that they are so far in to the marketing of the site that these alterations would confuse the issue. 

It would be difficult to justify pursuing funds for permanent improvements across the way at South Pond while money is spent on temporary facelifts on the other side of the car park.  While the Town Council may wish to join The Society in their endeavours to improve the site, they too have other budgetary restrictions.

Thank to The Midhurst Society for their concerns about the town; more residents could share your passion. Please do not be put off by this outcome and continue to submit further ideas in the future; no doubt there will be other struggles along the way."


 


Holmbush Caravan Site



 

The SDNP Local Plan Pre-submission document identifies the fromer Holmbush Caravan Park, Midhurst as suitable for the development of 50 to 70 residential dwellings (class C3 use). Planning permission will not be granted for any other uses. The National Park Authority will prepare a Development Brief to assist the delivery of the site. Detailed proposals that are in broad conformity with the Development Brief and that meet the following site specific development requirements will be permitted:

a) To provide positive enhancements to the treescape, waterbodies, wildlife corridors and habitats within the site; b) To demonstrate that there would be no likely significant effect on the Singleton and Cocking Tunnels Special Area of Conservation;
c) Built development to be located sequentially only within those parts of the site outside Fluvial Flood Zones 2 and 3 as defined by the Environment Agency;
d) Floor levels of habitable areas, where appropriate and proven to be necessary, to be designed  to take into account flood risk and climate change;
e) Safe vehicular and pedestrian emergency access and egress should be provided during flooding;
f) Incorporation of suitable site boundary treatments;
g) Provision of pedestrian routes through the site linking into adjacent open spaces; and
h) Retention and improvement of, where necessary, the existing vehicular access. 

We responded to the Local Plan in general and also with regard to specific proposals.  This is our written submission to the SDNPA concerning the Caravan site, November 2017.   Response to SDNPA Local Plan


 


The proposed expansion of primary and secondary schools in West Sussex from September 2019

The proposed expansion of primary and secondary schools in West Sussex
from September 2019
Comments from The Midhurst Society (made in November 2017):
"It is reassuring to know that WSCC is considering evidence relating to further growth in the number of children likely to be making use of state-funded school places and looking at how an increase in demand for these can best be accommodated. Forward planning of this nature is never wasted and is to be commended. We would, however, question the initial consultation window of just four weeks - the shortest time legally permitted - and why, with proposals having potentially far-reaching effects, proper public consultation meetings have not been organised for each of the areas involved. We are aware that these may well happen, depending on the response from a limited number of the public, but would argue that some proposals deserve more consideration than others in this respect because of the possible implications of their implementation".... Sue Edwards (Chair)

  View full letter


SDNP Local Plan

"From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the South Downs National Park’s landscapes cover 1,600km2 of breath-taking views and hidden gems. Discover the white cliffs of Seven Sisters, rolling farmland, ancient woodland and lowland heaths or enjoy our ‘picture perfect’ villages, traditional country pubs or flourishing vineyards. Let the South Downs National Park subtly seduce you."
 

Following the creation of the Park, after many years of campaiging, the newly-established SDNPA devoted considerable time and effort into drawing up a plan for the future.  The SDNP Local Plan Pre-Submission document was issued in September 2017.  It was ambitious, seeking to define the ways in which landscape and heritage could be protected without needlessly restricting the natural evolution of towns and villages.

We felt it was our responsibility to comment in detail on this Plan, and our response can be found here   Response to Local Plan 

The Parish of Stedham with Iping prepared their own Neighbourhood Plan, to be incorporated into the Local Plan. We also commented on this document, and our response can be found here   Response to Stedham with Iping Neighbourhood Plan