NEIGHBOURS living close to the former St Margaret’s Convent in Midhurst have criticised the ‘disappointing’ new housing development taking shape on the site.
Mike Trueman told the Observer: “I have nothing against new houses being built, but I would hope they are designed by architects to be in keeping with Midhurst – as the Rockery development was.
“The convent site looks like a mass-produced housing estate – and I know we and our neighbours who live opposite are very disappointed.”
Plans were unveiled by developers Affinity Sutton in May 2011 for a mix of affordable and private homes.
Fears were expressed at the time that the former school would become a ‘council estate in the centre of town’.
Mr Trueman said: “The original plan indicated the design would be ‘in keeping’ with local architecture as have other past developments such as the Rockeries and Cowdray Court.
“Particularly given that we are now within the new national park, I would have thought planning would require buildings to be appropriately designed.
“From a relatively peaceful place to live, Petersfield Road has turned into being part of a housing estate.
Midhurst-based developer Mark Bergon added: “This is a sensitive, landmark site at the entrance to the town and it beggars belief that we have ended up with a scheme like this.
“It looks as though there has been little or no architectural input and no effort to build something that is sympathetic to the listed building on the site or provide any architectural features.”
And another neighbour, Tiffany Anderson, said: “I’m gobsmacked by the design. It is nothing like we envisaged after being shown artists’ impressions. It is so out of keeping, with no thought or consideration for the immediate surroundings.
“I am surprised it was given permission by the planning authority.
“There seems to be little provision for parking and we are all worried because car parking is already a problem outside our homes.”