Food shops could open near Grange in Midhurst

The Grange Leisure Centre, Midhurst
The Grange Leisure Centre, Midhurst

MORE job opportunities could be coming to Midhurst, as food firms bid to build new stores near the Grange.

A discussion about the available land took place earlier this month behind closed doors at a meeting of Chichester District Council’s cabinet.

Its members considered a shortlist of companies that had made ‘expressions of interest’ in leasing or purchasing for development the surplus land at the Grange.

A council spokeswoman this week confirmed three food retailers have been invited by the council to put forward planning applications for the site, which is the current Grange Centre and the West Sussex County Council day centre.

In response to the news, Steve Morley, Midhurst town councillor, said: “As a councillor and as a resident I would welcome the job opportunities that a retail outlet would provide.”

He added there was a ‘lot of residential development going on’ currently in Midhurst, such as in Lamberts Lane and at the former St Margaret’s Convent, in Petersfield Road.

Cllr Morley said any future development could provide a number of job opportunities in the town to match
the increase in housing.

After the meeting, which took place on September 3, a Chichester District Council spokeswoman said: “We have invited three companies, all of which have submitted food retail-based schemes, to submit a pre-planning application.

“We have indicated what we feel are the sites’ needs including the provision of sufficient car parking.”

It is not yet known which three food companies have been invited to submit the bids by the district council.

Work started just over a year ago on the new Grange, with diggers moving in to dig up the tennis courts at the start of September, 2012.

According to a progress report in the summer, the project remained on course to come in at its £8.1m budget.

The work was initially held up because of the abnormal amounts of rain at the beginning of the construction work.

Some of the internal brickwork was completed in May and work is expected to finish in spring, 2014.