Bluebell Hub Cocking

Posted to Facebook 15 January 2019

The Bluebell Inn in Cocking is for sale. The owners had their eye on property development, which would leave the village without a pub. And as the owners of the shop and post office have announced their retirement this year, Cocking might lose that as well.

Enter the Blue Bell Community Hub Ltd, presenting a chance to save them all. The Hub will be owned by the community (Cocking and surrounding area) for the benefit of the community (and passing trade).

Go along to the meeting at Cocking Village Hall at 7pm on Friday 18th January to learn more about it.

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Defibrillator comes to North Street

On Monday 14 January 2019 The Midhurst Society and Tesco 'opened' a defibrillator outside the Tesco store in North Street.  Funding came from the Mrs E G Carne Legacy (under the control of The Midhurst Society) and the charity Tesco Bags of Help.

What they said:

“We are delighted that we have been able to install this life-saving equipment in memory of Mrs Carne. It has been a pleasure to work with Tesco on this project.” (Harvey Tordoff, Organiser, The Midhurst Society)

“It means a lot to us that we have been able to work with The Midhurst Society for the benefit of the community.” (Dave Woods, Store Manager, Tesco)

“Midhurst Town Council are thrilled to see this defibrillator installed in North Street and offer our thanks and congratulations to all concerned.” (Judy Fowler, Midhurst Town Council)

“We are delighted to see this defibrillator just a few yards from our shop. All our volunteers are CPR-trained and can be called on if necessary.” (Zoe Nunn, Midhurst Manager, British Heart Foundation)

“This is great news, but this isn't all that we're working on. We are in talks with members of Midhurst Sports Association with a view to installing a defibrillator at the Cowdray Pavilion.” (Mike Balmforth, Chairman, The Midhurst Society)

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Chichester District Councillors come to Midhurst !!!!

At a packed Memorial Hall on 10 January 2019 Chichester DC Leader Tony Dignum and his wife and co- Councillor Pam Dignum faced a grilling from the people of Midhurst.


Harvey Tordoff, who organised the event on behalf of The Midhurst Society, explained the plan for the evening. Questions had been requested in advance and made available to the Councillors several days earlier. Now they would be read out by the questioners to be dealt with one by one. First, Pam and Tony introduced themselves and outlined the relationship between CDC and Midhurst; in particular, the many ways in which CDC had supported initiatives in the town. The biggest single financial commitment was the £8.3m paid out of reserves for the building of the current Grange Centre, resulting in more CDC money being spent in Midhurst than in any other part of the District.


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Dunford House

Richard Cobden was born just outside Midhurst, and returned to rebuild his birthplace into what is now known as Dunford House, where he lived for many years. He was one of the great social reformers of the 19th century, and Dunford House, which still contains many of his possessions, would make a great museum.  He is buried in the churchyard at West Lavington and comemmorated by an obelisk bearing the words:


Dunford House is now being put up for sale and the Cobden family descendents, now scattered all over the world, together with the people of Heyshott and surrounding area, are endeavouring to take the house under their wing.



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Midhurst Magazine

What do you think of our magazine?  The format hasn't changed in recent years, consiting primarily of three or four lengthy articles - usually with historical interest, with black and white photographs.  Back in the 1990's the magazine had more varied content.  Should we reintroduce that variety?  Let us know what you think by email at or by printing out and completing the attached questionnaire 




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Future of the Midhurst Community Hospital

Following the sudden closure of the Bailey Unit earlier this year it was reported in the Midhurst & Petworth Observer on 20 December 2018 that a 'frailty hub' is planned for the Midhurst Community Hospital in 2019.  Dr Kate O'Kelly, county councillor, reported that the hub would help severely frail people and stop unwelcome admissions to acute hospitals.  All services and therapists, including medics and social care experts, would be working as a team.


This is excellent news.  We now await further news that a good use has been found for the building known as Rotherfield Mews, which has been vacant for many years.

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Christmas Celebration

The Midhurst Society Christmas Celebration took place on 5th December in the Castle Room at the Walled Garden. Mulled wine was drunk, nibbles were nibbled, mince pies were consumed.  And there was lots of chatting.  Amazing how we can talk for two hours!  A great evening.

Thanks to the staff at the Walled Garden; thanks to the organisers on our side; and thanks to everyone who turned out at the end of what had been a very wet December Day.  


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The old NatWest Building

Facebook:  3 October 2018

The old NatWest building in Rumbolds Hill has only been empty for a few months and already it's looking run-down. It's being offered for rent, but there is a restrictive clause: it can only be used for banking purposes. As most banks are moving out of town centres, perhaps we can expect the building to remain empty for quite a while.

Rather than wait for something to happen - and then decide we don't like it - should we be taking action? Our options are limited. Should we be supportive of any attempt to remove the restrictive clause? Should we encourage Nationwide to move across the road? What do you think?

(1,225 people reached; 17 comments)

7 October 2018: wrote to Midhurst Town Council and the CEO of Cowdray Estate, urging them to remove the restrictive banking clause that could result in the building being unoccupied for some considerable time.  Also wrote to the Deputy CEO of Nationwide Building Society alerting him to the current opportunity.



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Redevelopment of the Grange Site

Facebook 4 October 2018

Let's clear up some of the confusion surrounding the Grange site.

CDC own the site and paid for the development of the new Grange Centre. As owners, they are entitled to do whatever they want with it, subject to the usual planning laws. They made it clear when the new Grange Centre was built that they would need to sell off the remaining part of the site to offset some of the costs.

CDC cannot enter into a dialogue with every resident who has an opinion. The long-established system is for local town and parish councils to protect local interests.

Perhaps our Town Council didn't do enough to solicit local views during the four years since Waitrose withdrew; perhaps CDC could have communicated more with the Town Council. Perhaps the people could have been more proactive. That's water under the bridge now.

We at The Midhurst Society intend to be more proactive in future - hence our post regarding the old NatWest building. Meanwhile, we encourage everyone who is concerned about the proposed nursing home to use the planning process before SDNPA considers the application on its merits.

As always, we will attempt to collate views expressed here when we make our representations to SDNPA.

(303 people reached)

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Facebook: 21 September 2018

Those of you who don't believe in divine providence might want to think again. The forecast of high winds has resulted in the cancellation of Velo South on Sunday. According to the Chichester Observer, a West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We have been informed of the decision to cancel the Velo South cycle ride by the organisers CSM Active due to the serious weather forecast this weekend.

"We sympathise with those who have trained hard and raised money for charity and made many arrangements to attend on Sunday but obviously safety comes first in any large event and we are pleased the organisers are taking that duty so seriously.

"The Temporary Traffic Road Order (TTRO) will not be enacted and roads will be open as usual.”

Let's hope that lessons have been learned, and that if a similar event is to be held in 2019 the organisers take time to consult with those affected. If that happens, let's not bear a grudge; let's give the cyclists a warm Sussex welcome.

(235 people reached)


We forwarded this message to WSCC on the same day:
The announcement of road closures to facilitate Velo South 2018 created some heated exchanges, some of them on our own Facebook page. The major criticism was that people who were affected had not been consulted. The cancellation gives us all breathing space, and if the event is to be considered in 2019 can we request that our own Town Council in Midhurst be included in consultations at an early stage. We would also appreciate it if The Midhurst Society could be informed as well. This morning I posted this on our Facebook page: "Let's hope that lessons have been learned, and that if a similar event is to be held in 2019 the organisers take time to consult with those affected. If that happens, let's not bear a grudge; let's give the cyclists a warm Sussex welcome."



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Sussex Record Society

On 21 September 2018 we received this message from Martin Hayes:

"I’m on the Council of the Sussex Record Society and we went live with an online Sussex Bibliography 15 months ago. Between 1,500 and 2,000 users look at the Bibliography each month and it is the most popular part of the SRS website.
"You may find the Midhurst entries interesting and hopefully comprehensive as regards books. Indeed there are over 100 entries on the town, grammar school and Edward VII hospital."
Happy browsing!

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Swimming Pool for the Grange site

Facebook: 31 August 2018

When Geoff Thompson replied to our post about the Grange Site he had this to say:

"When the new sports centre was being built there were many rumours that this plot was to be a swimming pool, which was a very popular idea. It would draw in customers from the surrounding area's who are currently travelling away from Midhurst to Chichester and Petersfield. It would also upgrade Midhurst's attractiveness to anyone looking at moving to the area, especially families with children. It would be very nice to see this plot used for the benefit of the Midhurst and surrounding community!"

Swimming offers good exercise in a safe environment, something that would be welcome as levels of obesity continue to rise.

What do you think?

(3,164 people reached; 1,500 clicks; 114 comments; 22 shares)

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AGM 19 April 2018

At the 57th Annual General Meeting of The Midhurst Society, held at The Memorial Hall, North Street on 19th April, retiring Chairperson Sue Edwards thanked the large number of members and guests who had shown their support with their attendance. The minutes of the previous meeting, together with the Treasurer's Report, were approved and adopted, and Sue delivered her final report from the Chair. She drew attention to the steady decline in membership numbers over the last few years and the difficulties experienced by the Committee in ascertaining the wishes of the membership. Various initiatives have been undertaken in the last twelve months to raise the profile of The Society and to communicate with the wider community, and Sue hoped that this would lead to more involvement as we move forward.

Sue thanked her committee members individually, acknowledging in particular the dedication and commitment over a number of years of retiring members Malcolm Hutchings and Lesley Campbell. She then introduced Mike Balmforth, who had agreed to put himself forward for the Committee and take on the roll of Chairman, and his wife Sue Balmforth who was willing to serve as Honorary Secretary. They were duly nominated, seconded and elected unanimously. Treasurer Harvey Tordoff, Administration Officer Claire Cox, Membership Secretary Michael de Jong-Smith and Talks Organiser Peter Shaw were also re-elected unanimously. Mervyn Evans-Jones was thanked for checking the Accounts and was appointed Independent Examiner for another year.

As the meeting was brought to a close ex-Chairperson Sheila Ryan thanked Sue Edwards for her tireless work for The Society since being elected in 2012, first as Membership Secretary and then as Chairperson. Sheila presented Sue with an orchid and an e-book gift card and wished her well in her much-delayed retirement.

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