Planning


Cowdray Works Yard

Application lodged 3 August 2021.

SDNP/21/04040/FUL | Hybrid Application: Full - Erection of 20 dwellings with associated access, parking and landscaping following demolition and site preparation; and, Outline - construction of up to 1,500sq.m of commercial use (Class E(a), (Eb) and E(g)(i) Uses only) with all matters reserved | Cowdray Works Yard Easebourne Lane Easebourne GU29 9BN
 

We have asked for comments on Facebook and will respond to SDNPA in due course.

When this site was identified in the draft Local Plan we commented in November 2017 as follows:

New housing and commercial developments are to be permitted in defined settlement areas but infrastructure is already over-stretched in some of these settlements. The Plan should identify these problem areas and reject all further planning applications until such problems have been resolved.

Allocation Policy SD67 identifies land at Cowdray Works Yard, Easebourne for mixed commercial (A1/A3/B1) and residential development (Page 253), with access from the A272 (Easebourne Lane).  This would put added strain on the already congested and polluted (and sometimes gridlocked) road leading south to and through Midhurst. Any such development should be put on hold until traffic easing measures have been implemented. If this becomes a mixed development site it should be ensured that any industrial processes that are covered by B1 use do not cause excessive noise, vibrations or pollution that would compromise the quiet enjoyment of the occupants of the residential units.


 

 


Former school buildings in Easebourne

Application lodged 3 August 2021

SDNP/21/04041/FUL | Erection of 20 dwellings, including conversion of former school building, with associated access, parking and landscaping following demolition and site preparation. | Easebourne Primary School Easebourne Street Easebourne GU29 0BD


SDNP/21/04042/LIS | Works to change the use of core of former school building to three dwellings, demolition of mid to late 20th century rear extensions and outbuildings, and associated development | Easebourne Primary School Easebourne Street Easebourne GU29 0BD

We have asked for comments on Facebook and will respond to SDNPA in due course.

When this site was identified in the draft Local Plan we commented in November 2017 as follows:

New housing and commercial developments are to be permitted in defined settlement areas but infrastructure is already over-stretched in some of these settlements. The Plan should identify these problem areas and reject all further planning applications until such problems have been resolved.

Allocation Policy SD69 identifies land at the former Easebourne School, Easebourne for residential development (Page 260).  However, access is from Easebourne Street which leads into Easebourne Lane (A272) which is already polluted and heavily congested (sometimes gridlocked) in a southerly direction towards the mini roundabout and pinch-point at North Mill Bridge, Midhurst.  Any such development should be put on hold until traffic easing measures have been implemented.


Recreation Ground, Egmont Road

Application lodged 3 August 2021

SDNP/21/04043/FUL | Erection of 20 dwellings with associated access, parking and landscaping following demolition and site preparation | Recreation Ground and Allotment Gardens Egmont Road Easebourne West Sussex Recreation Ground.


We have asked for comments on Facebook and will respond to SDNPA in due course.


When this site was identified in the draft Local Plan we commented in November 2017 as follows:

New housing and commercial developments are to be permitted in defined settlement areas but infrastructure is already over-stretched in some of these settlements. The Plan should identify these problem areas and reject all further planning applications until such problems have been resolved.

Allocation Policy SD68 identifies land at Egmont Road, Easebourne for residential development (Page 256).  However, access is from Dodsley Lane (A286) or Easebourne Lane (A272), both of which suffer from pollution and are heavily congested (sometimes gridlocked) in a southerly direction towards the mini roundabout and pinch-point at North Mill Bridge, Midhurst.  Any such development should be put on hold until traffic easing measures have been implemented.
 


West Sussex Transport Plan 2022 to 2036

Draft for Consultation
 

Current Status: The draft was published for consultation between 16 July and 18 October 2021

West Sussex published a detailed 99-page consultation paper of the Plan, available for download

There is also a 14-page 'Snapshot' available at the same location.

We have summarised some of the points that are of particular interest to people in Midhurst, which is available   here

We will respond in due course, but we would welcome feedback from anyone interested in the future of the Midhurst District.

 


West Sussex Transport Plan 2022 to 2036

Bepton Road Depot and Brickworks - SDNP/21/03448/FUL, SDNP/20/05059/FUL & SDNP/19/03606/PRE


Illustrative site plan - June 2021



Old buildings at Bepton Road Depot



Old buildings at Bepton Road

Current Status:  Application lodged on 28 June 2021
 

In June 2021 Metis Homes lodged a planning application for the erection of 70 new homes with associated access, parking and landscaping following demolition of the existing buildings

On 3 March 2021,SDNPA had refused planning permission for an application for 75 homes submitted by Metis Homes in November 2020.  This followed a letter from SDNPA (15 January 2021) advising Metis to withdraw the application in order to deal with the numerous issues listed - which Metis declined to do.

The Midhurst Society has listened to arguments from both sides.  We appreciate the fact that the site has been identified as suitable for residential development, but we also recognise that the earlier proposals did not adequately deal with the concerns expressed by several organisations and individuals.  We therefore adopted a neutral stance pending satisfactory resolution of these concerns.  Our response (31 August 2021) to the June 2021 application can be read   here



 


Garages: New Road - SDNP/21/02078/FUL

Proposal Demolition of existing garages. Erection of a new block of flats consisting of 6 no. 1 bed units.

Current Status: In progress

This is the first planning application (14 April 2021) by Midhurst Community Land Trust.  We are aware that criticism has been levelled at the unimaginative design, but there has been an urgent need for Affordable Housing for decades.  CDC made this observation:
"As of 18 May 2021, there are a total of 90 households on the Council’s housing register in need of affordable/social rented accommodation within Midhurst Parish, 55 of which are in need of 1 bedroom accommodation."

Local residents have lodged objections, but we did not feel the need to repeat them.  On 12 June 2021 we supported the application with the suggestion that a green roof might improve the overall appearance.


Existing garages



Existing garages



Proposed flats: front elevation

Dunford House – Several Applications – Latest SDNP/21/00027/LIS

Current Status:  Several applications for redevelopment and change of use have been refused.

On 6 January 2021, application SDNP/21/00027/LIS was made for change of use from listed building with community facility (Use Class C2) to a single tourist let dwelling house (Use Class C3), including demolition of modern extension, external and internal alterations, erection of garage extension, pool house and associated landscaping. We objected to the application for a variety of reasons including lack of satisfaction of the requirement for 24month robust marketing as a community facility to prove there is no demand for community use and that therefore there may not be a change of use.  The application was refused on 30 April 2021.

On 7 October 2020 the SDNPA refused application SDNPA/20/01390/FUL for change of use.  All previous applications regarding change of use or confirmation of existing use had been refused by SDNPA.

Nick Cobden-Wright (a relative of Richard Cobden, Victorian Statesman and advocate of free trade) continues to pursue his alternative plans, which are for a continued form of community use.

 

 


Artist's Impression of re-developed Dunford House

Kennels Farm, Selham Road

SDNP/20/01635/LDP

Current status: The Applicant argued that relocating the Estate Works to this site would not involve a 'change of use' and therefore no planning application is required.  SDNPA rejected this and the Applicant has appealed the decision.

In June 2021 the Planning Inspectorate wrote: "After a review on the case, it is now considered that a hearing is more appropriate. This is because there is a need to question the parties regarding the proposed use and its physical and functional relationship with the various uses on the estate, to establish the relevant planning unit and assess whether there would be a material change of use.

We have not commented since the appeal largely concerns a legal point.

Proposed use of buildings at Kennels Farm as Estate Maintenance yard including a joinery workshop, painters workshop, stores and offices. | Kennels Farm Selham Road West Lavington Midhurst West Sussex GU29 0AU

The current Estate Works Department is situated in Easebourne, and the site has been identified as having residential development potential. A planning application has been submitted proposing that it be relocated to Kennels Farm. This is an application for a 'lawful development certificate' - appropriate for the development of an existing rural business. 

There are a number of local objections citing traffic flow, but as this is not a planning application for change of use, traffic is not an issue.  Nevertheless, Selham Road is a narrow country lane, single track in places with no 'official' passing places, and we share the concerns of the objectors. 

Our response to SDNPA, on 9 June 2020, was therefore neutral.

"We would like to comment on the application for a lawful development certificate for what might also be seen as a change of use.
In these circumstances, presumably the issues in SD7: Relative Tranquillity, SD8: Dark Night Skies, SD19: Transport and Accessibility, and SD20: Walking, Cycling and Equestrian Routes need not be addressed.
We will leave it to the appropriate local council to comment on the legality question regarding the suggestion that criteria 3 of the case relied on can be ignored. However, The Midhurst Society was formed to protect the heritage and culture of the district and we share some of the concerns expressed in the numerous objections by residents.
Whilst the applicant may be under no obligation to do so, we would encourage him to allay some of those concerns by commenting on the volume of traffic that is anticipated by the 'change of use' compared with that experienced in the past. It would also be helpful if he could make a commitment to manage the activities so as to minimise any adverse visual impact on the landscape.
Subject to these assurances we support the application."

Decision made on 24 June 2020:

"The South Downs National Park Authority hereby certify that on 24th April 2020 the use/operations/matter described in the First Schedule to this Certificate in respect of the land specified in the Second Schedule to this Certificate and DELINEATED on the plan attached to this Certificate, is not lawful within the meaning of Section 192 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended)"


Cowdray Land in Easebourne – Three Submissions for Pre-Application Advice


Former Easebourne Primary School



Building on Cowdray Works Yard

Current Status:  Planning Applications were received for all three sites in August 2021, and they are now been treated individually elsewhere in this document.

Pre-applications were made for all three sites, and a public consultation was held (somewhat limited because of Covid restrictions). 


The pre-applications (all dated 23 October 2020) are for Easebourne Primary School SDNP/20/04747/PRE; - Former Recreation Ground and Allotment Gardens Land at Egmont Road SDNP/20/04754/PRE; and Cowdray Works Yard Easebourne Lane SDNP/20/04751/PRE

The applications are in the names of Metis Homes and Cowdray Estate.  The Applications are for a total of 60 houses – 20 per site.  The SDNP Local Plan had indicated 16 - 20 units per site. Whilst there has been some interest locally – mostly objections to any development – as these are Preliminary Applications we are waiting for the full applications before commenting.  The major concern we expressed in our response (November 2017) to the Local Plan would appear to be still relevant: the additional strain these new homes would put on local infrastructure

Metis Homes are the developer of the two new adjacent sites at Wyndham Mews in Lamberts Lane, and also the applicant for the Bepton Road County Depot development.
 


Minerals & Soft Sand:

CURRENT STATUS: 
On 6 January 2020 the Proposed Submission Draft Soft Sand Review (of the Joint Minerals Local Plan) was published. Representations are invited ONLY on its ‘soundness’ and legal and procedural compliance (closing date 2 March 2020).

It is a complex codicil to an even more complex set of documents and we lack the expertise to pass serious comment. However, we would draw your attention to the following:

2.39 The outcomes of the site assessments (as set out within the 4SR) have indicated that the following sites are acceptable in principle for their proposed uses;
• Ham Farm
• Chantry Lane Extension
• East of West Heath Common
• Minsted West
• The Severals (East and West)

and:

2.42 Taking account of the information in the updated technical evidence and the guiding principles, including consideration of the sites having least impact on the SDNP, the following [proposals are made]:
Inside West Sussex, Outside of the SDNP
Ham Farm ALLOCATED

Inside West Sussex, Inside of the SDNP
East of West Heath (Extension) ALLOCATED
Chantry Lane (Extension) ALLOCATED
Minsted West (Extension) RULED OUT
Severals East and West RULED OUT

We urge you to read for yourself and if necessary seek professional advice.

https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/…/soft-sand-review-consultat…/

 

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Below are some highlights of our battle over the last few years:



The SDNP Local Plan did not seek to re-investigate sites previously identified as having the potential for the commercial quarrying of soft sand.  Subsequently, the Manning Report recommended that these sites should be re-examined.  The Manning Report has been attacked by residents and local communities and SDNPA have been weighing these resposnses in considering the Report.  No planning application has been received, for The Severals or for any other site.  No application can be received until/unless the Manning Report's recommendations are adopted by SDNPA.

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)."

After consultations with many parties over many months, in September 2019 SDNPA put together a proposal for consideration at the planning committee meeting on 12th September: namely,
"to INCLUDE sites that would have the least impact on the National Park
and to EXCLUDE:

  • Minsted West (Extension)
  • Coopers Moor (Extension)
  • Duncton Common (Extension)
  • Severals East and West (New site)"

Although we advocated that quarrying anywhere in the National Park should be considered inappropriate this is encouraging. It's not over yet, so put the celebrations on hold.

Next stages:

The SDNPA and West Sussex County Council are

"working together on a revised policy for soft sand extraction. Following our consultation in early 2019, we will be consulting on our Proposed Submission Soft Sand Review (SSR) from 6 January 2020 to 2 March 2020.

"We are proposing a new extraction site at Ham Farm (outside of the SDNP). There are also two proposed extensions to existing quarries within the SDNP at Chantry Lane (near Storrington) and West Heath (near Rogate). The revised soft sand strategy has been prepared using a range of updated technical evidence. The SSR, background evidence and all the consultation documents will be available online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/mwdf during the consultation."

The main documents will also be available at WSCC offices, the South Downs Centre  and main libraries.


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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

Vine House Elderly Peoples Residence Easebourne - SDNP/20/05305/FUL

Current Status: Permission granted for the construction of a single-storey extension.

On 25 November 2020 an Application was made - SDNP/20/05305/FUL - for the construction of a single-storey extension to the rear of this Care Home.  We solicited views on Facebook and the proposal received substantial support. We therefore commented favourably on the Application.

In February 2021, SDNPA concluded that "the proposed development is considered to be in accordance with national and local planning policies and approval is therefore recommended".

 


Back of Vine House now



Proposed extension to Vine House

St Mary Magdalene Church SDNP/19/04929/PRE

Current Status: Exploratory talks have taken place between the Church Commissioners and SDNPA.  The property is being offered for sale, but SDNPA have indicated that it is unlikely to be granted change of use for residential conversion. 

This church, in West Lavington, was closed to the public in 2009.  It is believed there are safety issues, and that the condition of the building is deteriorating. 

On 5 February 2020 we wrote to SDNPA:
"We would welcome a change of use which enables the fabric of the Church to be preserved but for local people it is the future of the graveyard which is of greatest concern. Using social media many of our followers have communicated a wish for free access to the graves of their loved ones, at a time of their choosing, and also in due course to join them in their graves. We support this view along with the need to give the greatest protection to this graveyard of national significance, containing war graves and the grave of Richard Cobden.
"We believe the best solution is for the building to be made available to the community, perhaps by way of a “hub”.  It might even be possible for Richard Cobden's artefacts to be exhibited here."

We had earlier written to the Church Commissioners along the same lines, but received no response and the property was subsequently offered for sale with a guide price of £400,000. 

 


The Church, from the sale particulars



Land, from the sale particulars

SDNP/20/04635/FUL | Conversion of former Lloyds bank to Residential


Former Lloyds Bank, Church Hill

Current Status:  Application under consideration.

Application on 22 October 2020 for the conversion of former Lloyds bank into four townhouses. Demolition of rear flat roofed single storey extensions constructed in second half of twentieth century.


The Midhurst Society objected, agreeing with the objections raised by CDC and MTC regarding lack of provision of an Affordable Home; also noting there is no indication of parking on-site, and in accordance with the Parking SDP algorithm there should be at least 5 parking spaces. When these issues are addressed The Midhurst Society may support the application.

We retain some sympathy for the proposal, which would put to good use an empty building on the edge of the Old Town.
 


Cowdray Treehouses - SDNP/20/01693/FUL

Current Status:  Permission granted 17 July 2020

Application by Cowdray Estate for the construction of 12 treehouses to provide tourism accommodation across 2 woodland sites within the estate (5 x 1 bedroom units at Lodge Wood - West of Cowdray House - and 7 x 1 bedroom units at High Field Copse - East of Benbow Pond), access and parking, cycle storage, drainage and biodiversity enhancements and woodland management. 

On 11 June 2020 we lodged our support with SDNPA:

"The Midhurst Society supports this application. It is our view that the proposed development, if sensitively executed and managed, will not damage the environment and may benefit the local economy."

Cowdray subsequently submitted a further application to amend the conditions to allow the houses at Lodge Wood to be built in advance of those adjacent to Benbow Pond. This does not appear to raise any matters of concern provided as before the conditions are monitored for compliance. SDNPA approved these variations on 19 March 2021.
 


Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) – Parking

The proposed Parking SPD which is to give direction regarding the provision of cycle and vehicle parking for new development has now been published for comment. It was expected the document would be approved but it is now out for further consultation.


Various Works to 43 Trees at Little Midhurst – SDNP/20/03247/TPO

It was not thought to be controversial and has now been accepted by SDNP with conditions regarding the initial replacement and if necessary ongoing replacement of trees. Work has commenced.
 


Country Inn, Bepton SDNP/20/03042/FUL

Current Status: Permission granted May 2021.

An application was made on 23 July 2020 for full refurbishment and the provision of two ground-floor extensions. increasing the internal floor space by 80 square metres from 172 sq m ro 252 sq m.  There would also be an extension to the car park, increasing capacity from 8 cars to 26 cars.  We noted that Bepton PC was broadly supportive of the extension, and even queried whether the parking was sufficient to cope with a dining room of 70 covers as well as a garden space.  We therefore adopted a neutral stance, supporting the redevelopment provided issues regarding flooding, noise and internal layout concerns are addressed. 

On 22 January 2021, substantially amended plans were submitted but we do not consider it necessary to respond further.

In May 2021, SDNPA concluded that "The proposed development is considered to be in accordance with national and local planning policies and approval is therefore recommended." There were the usual conditions, including one concerned with protecting the habitat of bats.




Proposed site plan

Capron House

SDNP/20/01165/FUL and SDNP/20/04834/CND
The Cowdray Estate has submitted a planning application as follows:

Capron House, North Street, Midhurst GU29 9DH

Proposed bicycle storage, refurbishment and repairs to the roof, all chimneys to be rebuilt as existing with new lead trays, installation of photovoltaic panels, replacement of all existing UPVC rainwater goods, SVPS, and services cast iron, alterations to external lighting and fenestration including removal of external fire escape and all windows to be redecorated in Cowdray gold/yellow. Cowdray recently revised their proposed alteration works most notably now excluding the use of “Gold Cup” yellow paint to all the windows. Planning permission, with numerous conditions, was granted on 25 August 2020, following which the application was re-submitted.  Consent was granted to this on 12 January 2021.
 

On 14 May 2020 we commented as follows:

We wish to comment in broadly favourable terms on the proposals to refurbish and enhance this Grade II Listed building. We are pleased to see that internal rearrangements will not impact negatively on the special features and that externally, any necessary replacements will be on a like-for-like basis. We particularly support the installation of PV panels on the rear roof, which will not affect the view from the front of the building.

We are, however, totally opposed to the specific proposal to paint external window frames in 'Cowdray gold'. Capron House is the grandest building in North Street and yellow paint would be quite inappropriate.

We realise that yellow window frames appear throughout the district, but the Cowdray tradition has always been that yellow paint was used on workers' cottages. Better quality buildings are more discrete. Business premises are painted in black and white, and managers' houses, dark green. Capron House has for many years had white paint, and this should continue.

Perhaps Cowdray will argue that the current estate office in Easebourne is painted yellow, but this building is more cottage-like. Capron House should not be made less grand.
 



 


Sustainable Construction

Following on from the Local Plan, in February 2020 the SDNPA issued a draft Sustainable Construction Supplementary Planning Document for a six week consultation period. 

On 22 March we commented as follows:

We have considered your draft document and generally welcome the proposed procedures and support and look forward to its adoption and implementation.
 
Please keep us informed of progress.

Sustainable Construction Supplementary Planning Document has now been approved by SDNPA with limited changes.
 

 


Former Syngenta Site

SDNP/19/00913/FUL

Former ICI / Syngenta Site Henley Old Road Fernhurst West Sussex GU27 3JE

Current status: The development was granted permission on the 21 October 2020 but subject to numerous conditions including timing, construction methods and materials and landscape/ecology.


Construction of up to 210 dwellings (Use Class C3) and 233sqm of café (Use Class A3), retail (Use Class A1) and community use (Use Class D1 / D2) buildings, retention of existing Pagoda building and associated commercial use (Use Class B1) and landscaping and associated access and parking works, following demolition of the Highfield building and other buildings/structures.


This is a major development, and planning proposals have gone through several changes as the developer responded to comments.  It might be slightly out of our area, but the impact on infrastructure will have a knock-on effect on Midhurst.

On 26 June 2020 we gave the scheme our conditional approval:

"The Midhurst Society accepts the merits of providing a substantial block of housing on a derelict brownfield site, but we are concerned over the impact on infrastructure: traffic, utilities, schools and medical centres. The Applicant should be encouraged to make a financial contribution to Fernhurst Parish Council towards infrastructure improvements.

"We note that the Application continues to evolve and be subject to amendment by the Applicant who will no doubt in due course address the issues raised by the Consultees in their comments and responses including those of Fernhurst PC. Provided all these issues are addressed and changes made, particularly with reference to climate change, either by amendment or condition, then The Midhurst Society supports the development."


Site layout

Petersfield Road Red Cedars - SDNP/20/03271/CND

Current Status: Application withdrawn

The application is to remove two groups of Western Red Cedar (Section A - group of six WRC's and Section B) one of group of nine WRC's) from the previously approved Landscape scheme for land adjacent to 78 Petersfield Road Midhurst. It would seem the failure to comply with the approved Landscape scheme has resulted in this application.
In any event in this time of climate change retention of trees and shading are essential. Therefore, The Midhurst Society objected to the felling of these trees and subsequently noted there was no suggestion the trees were causing structural damage and the application was withdrawn.


Lamberts Lane: Old Tennis Court

Current Status: Construction completed and properties occupied (see photo above on Park Crescent application)

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



Almost finished - then Covid-19 hit

Dunford House: 2020 and earlier

SDNP/20/01390/FUL
SDNP/20/01588/LDE

Proposed change of use to residential

CURRENT STATUS: Applications have been made to change the use of the main building and the bungalow (attached) to two residential units.  We have objected.  Revised plans submitted in August 2020.

SDNP/20/01390/FUL
On 17 May 2020 we submitted our comments to the SDNPA:

We would draw attention to some issues which whilst not directly impacting on the planning determination do provide some background. Based on the comments of Nick Cobden Wright, Dunford House was given to the YMCA by the Cobden family. Yet YMCA appear, when recently approached with a viable offer, supported by the Cobden descendants, to acquire Dunford House, to have made little effort to assist them and the proposal to use Dunford House as a museum and conference centre to preserve and promote the artefacts, achievements and principles of Richard Cobden for the benefit of all including visitors to the South Downs National Park. Further based on information provided by Ian Johnston, it would appear, the developer on a site in Buriton (believed to be the same developer for Dunford House) due in large part to changes by the developer the planning process was protracted and eventually resulted in a determination being varied by judicial review.

Regarding the substance of the application, use Class C2 refers to Residential Institutions providing residential accommodation of various types (South Downs Local Plan Policy SD23 applies) and which may encompass Community Facilities (South Downs Local Plan Policy SD43 applies). Thus in accordance with those Local Plans; in order for there to be a change of use to C3 various requirements must be met. This includes a requirement for a substantive marketing campaign for the use and or the premises; for the former a period of at least 12 months and the latter a period of 2 years and that must have continued beyond 9 months prior to the application and been unsuccessful. Indeed, the applicants applications prior to the current one allowed the possibility of continued C2 use which surely confirms existence of a market.

In our view substantive evidence of compliance with the above has not been provided by the applicant and based on the submitted comments of Nick Cobden Wright it would seem there is both a market and demand for a continued C2 use and thus no basis for allowing the change to C3 and thus we object to this application.

SDNP/20/01588/LDE
On 14 May 2020 we submitted our comments to the SDNPA:
When considering the Application SDNP/20/01588/LDE | Existing lawful development certificate
for self-contained dwelling (Use Class C3). | Dunford House, The Bungalow Dunford Hollow West
Lavington GU29 0AF We would draw your attention to the following:
1. That part of the YMCA Residential College and Training Centre referred to in the Application asThe Bungalow when occupied was only used by the Manager of the YMCA premises. As such it remained an integral part of the premises with therefore a Use Class C2.
2. Some years ago (more than 4 years) the Manager no longer occupied the premises and it was
used for storage of surplus materials and it therefore remained a Use Class C2. Thus we suggest
even if the use class had some 4 years earlier become Use Class C3 that use has lapsed and has
reverted to C2
3. There is a communicating door between that part of the premises referred to as the Bungalow
and the rest of the premises, which it seems was at all times used for access from one to the
other. The existence of the door alone, locked or not, means the Bungalow part of the premises is
not an "independent dwelling" and this is confirmed by its use.
We therefore suggest there is no basis for granting an Existing lawful development certificate for
self-contained dwelling (Use Class C3) For the Bungalow part of the premises.



SDNP/19/05597/PRE:

The SDNPA report on the pre-application submission can be read on the SDNPA planning portal:  https://planningpublicaccess.southdowns.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=PV54S4TU0GK00

Prior to this we had been active in supporting the efforts of the current members of the Cobden family and the residents of Heyshott as they attempted to re-claim Dunford House from the YMCA.  The estate had been gifted to the YMCA by the family for charitable purposes - and it was never envisaged that it would be sold for gain and for commercial use.  See the 'Campaigns' section of this web site.






Proposed single residence

Affordable Housing

Along with many organisations and individuals in Midhurst we have long advocated the concept of affordable housing and we are committed to the support of the aims of the Midhurst Community Land Trust.

 

In March 2020 SDNPA issued a Draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document
 

On 28 March we commented as follows:

We have considered your draft document and generally welcome the proposed procedures and support and look forward to its adoption and implementation.
 
However, whilst we support your proposal, in our response, of 14 October 2019 to your initial consultation we did suggest that you might go further.  There are a number of vacant properties in the Park (including Midhurst) – some of which have been unoccupied for a number of years.  There might be very good reasons why this is so, but we feel that the property owners should be given an incentive to return them to active use. As set out in our earlier response a Community Land Trust might, under certain circumstances, be given the right to buy such a property. 
 
Please keep us informed of progress.

The Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document has now been approved by SDNPA with limited changes.


North Street Trees - SDNP/19/05893/TCA

Current Status: work carried out May 2020


In November 2019 Cowdray Estate notified us of a decision to fell a number of trees in North Street, opposite the Methodist Church.  Namely: "2 no. Red Oak trees, 5 no. Ash trees, 4 no. Sycamore trees, 1 no. Whitebeam tree and 1 no. Horse Chestnut tree. Pollard (down to fracture point) 1 no. Poplar tree". We informed our members and posted to Facebook.  The trees had been found to be in a damaged, diseased or dangerous condition.  The tree report can be found   here

Subsequently, a planning application was made and the decision made by CDC and SCNPA to consent to the application providing that wildlife and wildlife habitat were protected.  See   

The Estate notified us of the intention to carry out the work in May 2020.  Again, we notified our members and posted to Facebook.  Concern was expressed over the necessity of carrying out the tree-felling at a time when birds could be expected to be nesting.  Several exchanges took place between The Society, The Estate and members of the public.  The Estate gave their assurance that every measure would be taken to protect wildlife but the potential danger to human life was such that the work needed to be carried out now. 
 




20 May 2020



20 May 2020

Former Brickworks, Bepton Road: 2020 and earlier

CURRENT STATUS:  The developer has now submitted a detailed Application Ref. No: SDNP/20/05059/FUL to build a total of 75 homes on the site. The Midhurst Society when commenting on the submission remained neutral but would support the development if the proposals were ammended and various issues addressed. The issues included, the number of homes, use of alternative heating sources to gas, developer contributions to local amenities, preservation of landscape/environment, archeolgical mapping and alterations to the site entrance to prevent queuing.


Various Design Workshops have been submitted (the earliest dated July 2019) and the SDNPA's response to the pre-application proposals are on file.  The latest move has been that Metis Homes have set up a Consultation Website and invite comments by 29th May 2020.  See https://thebrickworks.consultationonline.co.uk/?fbclid=IwAR39tazjRobPr8BGTzuJOft6WF_O3ylBoeiFLWmnrylVtPbeKNGNF7Xzcvk  
The Metis Homes consultation is now closed but a revised application has yet to be submitted.

 




We submitted our response to Metis Homes by email on 20 May 2020.  We welcomed the proposal in principle but drew attention to the several areas that we felt could be improved.  Read in full   here

SDNP/19/03606/PRE

In July 2019 SDNPA received a request for pre-application advice for a development of the site to include 72 homes. 

Although the SDNPA planning portal is not accepting comments at this stage we submitted our initial response in writing on 19 August 2019.  Our submission can be read   here



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SDNPA adopted the Local Plan on 2 July 2019, with Modifications proposed by the Inspector. 

With respect to the Brickworks site, 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
 

Notwithstanding our concerns, when the Plan was called in by the Planning Inspectorate, the Inspector found in favour of the submission regarding this site.  The Local Plan was adopted on 2 July 2019. A summary of the Inspector's conclusions can be found   here
 






The Old Grange site - 2018/2019





SDNP/18/04617/PRE 

Proposed Residential Nursing Home | The Grange Development Site Bepton Road Midhurst


CURRENT STATUS:  Pre-planning advice has been given to the developer, Montpelier, but no Planning Application has been received. 

 

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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In August 2019 we asked Midhurst Town Council if they would like to apply for Community Asset Status.  They declined.  And so on 10 October 2019 we applied to Chichester District Council ourselves. If granted, it would mean that the people of Midhurst could bid for the site – and subsequently decide on an appropriate development.  The text of our letter accompanying the application can be seen   here and this was followed by a more detailed comment.

We also raised concerns that the decision would be made within the legal entity that is Chichester DC, the site owner, and asked for assurances that mechanisms are in place that would prevent CDC from abusing its position as decision-maker.  We have been given such assurances.
 

In December 2019 CDC informed us that our bid was unsuccessful on the grounds that "there is no evidence that the site has provided any social value since the site was clearedm in 2014."  Of course it hasn't!  The site has been boarded up!  For the previous 34 years the site had been used by the community.
 

Decision-maker: CDC
Beneficiary: CDC
Hoardings erected by: CDC
 

Complicating matters even more, Midhurst residents and business raised money in the 1970's to help finance the original Grange Centre.  It would seem that there is some moral obligation on CDC to at least consult the people of Midhurst on the future use of the site.


 

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Previous activity:

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

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
30 August 2018 we sent an email to local councillors Steve Morley and Gordon McAra. The text can ve seen   here

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

 


Midhurst Bowls Club site


site plan

view from June Lane

CURRENT STATUS: The application made in February 2019 was rejected.  The developer defended his position with a submission in June 2019. In February 2020 the Club asked to be relieved of the obligation to provide some affordable housing (see   full text of letter)
 

SDNP/19/00832/FUL | Demolition of existing bowls club buildings and erection of 4 no. dwellinghouses and 2 flats with associated landscaping and parking and creation of new vehicular and pedestrian access - revised scheme following appeal decision. | Bowling Green June Lane Midhurst GU29 9EL


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 revised Viability Position was submitted in November 2019.
 

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


Park Crescent / Lamberts Lane


The site (to the right) cleared for construction; the 20 units of Phase 1 to the left; Park Crescent at the top


Cureent Status: construction completed May 2021 and some properties now occupied

 

SDNP/19/01477/FUL | Erection of nine dwellings with associated landscaping, parking and access from Lamberts Lane | 12 Park Crescent Midhurst West Sussex GU29 9ED
 

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. 

We expressed concerns over the impact on parking and traffic flow, particularly with regard to the single-track entry points from North Street.  These concerns were not shared by the planners.
 

We accept the need for smaller housing units in Midhurst and so, cautiously, we welcomed the news that planning permission had been granted for the erection of nine smaller (2 and 3 beds) dwellings at the Park Crescent site (behind the current Lamberts Lane development). Our concerns remain that Lamberts Lane is already not fit for purpose, and more vehicle movements will make matters worse.
 

However, we were heartened to see a list of conditions regarding environmental issues. We hope this will become standard for all new developments. Namely, that each dwelling has:
a) reduced predicted CO2 emissions by at least 19% due to energy efficiency and;
b) reduced predicted CO2 emissions due to on site renewable energy
c) EV charge points for every dwelling with suitable parking space
d) predicted water consumption no more than 110 litres/person/day
e) separate internal bin collection for recyclables
f) private garden compost bin and providing evidence demonstrating:
g) sustainable drainage and adaptation to climate change
h) selection of sustainable materials.

It's probably not enough, but it's a big step in the right direction.


Bepton Road Ambulance Station

Current Status:  Construction completed and properties occupied

SDNP/17/04026/FUL

Proposal in August 2017: Demolition of the ambulance station and the construction of:

1 no. 2 bedroom coach house,
2 no. 2 bedroom chalet bungalows and
1 no. 3 bed chalet bungalow
with associated parking and landscaping.


Site Address: Ambulance Station, Bepton Road, Midhurst, GU29 9HF

Midhurst Town Council approved the proposal, and although the design is unusual we made no comment on this application.

Approved June 2018

The site plan can be seen   in this PDF

 


Site with old ambulance station



Proposed coach house in Bepton Road

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 Holmbush and the A272 (Cowdray Farm Shop & Cafe) is currently subject to a feasibility study.
 

SDNP/18/05920/FUL    A planning application for the extension from West Dean to Cocking Hill was approved (subject to certain conditions) at a Planning Meeting held on 10 October 2019. The discussion can be followed here (Item 8 on the agenda; elapsed time for decision approx 2 hours 10 minutes):

https://southdowns.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/447775?fbclid=IwAR1IlzB0Yw6O0Sq-VXakB57brhC1Bs_eYPJmBPxB8k6L5aSNm1PmGi1e1Zo
 

Note:  concerns were expressed by Singleton PC with regard to nearby access roads.
 

Comments submitted on 02 Mar 2019 from The 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.

 


Holmbush Caravan Site



CURRENT STATUS:  SDNPA adopted the Plan on 2 July 2019, with Modifications proposed by the Inspector.  No planning application has been received.

 

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

Nothwithstanding our concerns, when the Plan was called in by the Planning Inspectorate, the Inspector found in favour of the submission regarding this site.  The Local Plan was adopted on 2 July 2019.  A summary of the Inspector's conclusions can be found   here

The original file reference is SDNP/DBC/SD82


 


SDNP Local Plan

CURRENT STATUS:  SDNPA adopted the Plan on 2 July 2019, with Modifications proposed by the Inspector.

 

"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

Following an Inspector's Report the Local Plan (incorporating all Neighbourhood Plans) was adopted on 2 July 2019.  It was modified by the Inspector's Report but as far as we can tell none of our comments were followed up; none of our concerns were addressed.  We realise that in a democracy not all voices and opinions can be accommodated but we are extremely disappointed that this Plan fails to reflect the views of so many people, particuarly with regard to infrastructure.


Stedham Sawmill

CURRENT STATUS:  SDNPA adopted the Local Plan on 2 July 2019.  This included all Neighbourhood Plans, although with regard to Stedham Sawmill the Inspector restricted the development proposed by the Parish.  No planning application has been received.

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 commented in detail on this document.    here


The Parish of Stedham with Iping prepared their own Neighbourhood Plan, to be incorporated into the Local Plan. In May 2018 we also commented on this document, and our response can be found   here

However, when the Plan was called in by the Planning Inspectorate, the Inspector was unable to accept the submission regarding the Stedham Sawmill site and imposed restrictions.  The Local Plan, incorporating the Neighbourhood Plans and as modified by the Inspector's Report, was adopted on 2 July 2019. A summary of the Inspector's conclusions can be found   here

Pre-planning advice was sought originally in June 2016 under SDNP/16/02952/PRE regarding 2746m2 of B1 light industrial employment uses and associated car parking and access. All matters were reserved for later approval.
 


Easebourne (3 sites)

CURRENT STATUS:  SDNPA adopted the Local Plan on 2 July 2019, with Modifications proposed by the Inspector.  No planning application has been received.

The SDNP Local Plan Pre-submission document identifies three sites in Easebourne as suitable for development.  In November 2017 we commented as follows:

Strategic Policy SD26 allocates 50 houses to Easebourne and 175 to Midhurst (Page 122). Whlst these numbers may be desirable in the wider context of the Local Plan concerns must be raised at the impact on the infrastructure. In particular, the major route joining
Easebourne and Midhurst is the combined east/west A272 and the north/south A286 which is already heavily congested. Traffic is frequently at a standstill between the two mini roundabouts at either end of North Street and Rumbolds Hill, with serious consequences for air quality. Any such development should be put on hold until traffic easing measures have been implemented.
 

Nothwithstanding our concerns, when the Plan was called in by the Planning Inspectorate, the Inspector found in favour of the submission regarding this site.  The Local Plan was adopted on 2 July 2019.  A summary of the Inspector's conclusions can be found   here


Cowdray Works Yard



Land at Egmont Road



Former Easebourne School

Dundee House:


Dundee House, after being empty for many years



Artist impression of new development



Under construction, rear view

CURRENT STATUS:  Under construction

SDNP/18/03233/FUL  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.

 


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."