Housing at Midhurst Grange site given leaders’ backing

Community leaders have given the thumbs-up to amended plans for the housing scheme to be built on the site of the Grange Centre.

Midhurst Town Council said the new plans for 16 homes on the Bepton Road site were ‘much improved’ and had no objections. It had labelled the previous two plans as poor, unimaginative and totally inappropriate for the historic centre of Midhurst. As a result, architects HNW have made significant changes.

South Downs National Park Authority will meet on Monday, October 10, to make a decision on the scheme, which has been recommended for approval by planning officers.

Proposals include 50 per cent affordable housing, with private parking and landscaping. The affordable units would be made up of one one-bedroom flat, four two-bedroom flats, two three-bedroom houses and one four-bedroom house.

The layout for the scheme will now be based around four terraced blocks with a block of five flats. A total of 25 car parking spaces would be provided in front of the terraces.

Support has also come from the South Downs Society, which said the design and layout of the homes was a major improvement.

It said it was pleased about the four short terraces, which would only be two storeys in height, and said with the use of traditional materials it should blend in well with this part of the conservation area.

In its comments the society said: “The layout is much improved providing communal open space for the residents and car parking separate to that of the adjacent public car park.

“The negotiations between the architects and officers of Chichester District Council and the SDNPA are to be commended.”

Planners said previous schemes had displayed a ‘number of attributes that conflicted with Midhurst’s characteristic sense of place and were of questionable design quality’. It said issues had been resolved by reducing the height of the buildings and breaking the development up into four terraces rather than one long repetitive block.

The scheme had also not provided enough green space but changes meant there was substantially more.

The architects said the layout was now an ‘outward looking development’.

The meeting will take place at Cowdray Hall, Midhurst, at 10.30am.