Midhurst fails in bid for ‘Queen of Shops’ cash

MIDHURST has failed in its first round bid for a ‘Queen of Shops’ award which could have seen a cash injection of £100,000 to boost the town’s trade.

John Quilter, chairman of the Midhurst Vision which led the bid under the government’s ‘Portas Pilot’ scheme announced Midhurst was one of 371 towns across the country which bid for funding and 12 had been selected in the first round.

“All of those selected were medium size towns or urban districts of bigger cities such as Croydon and Stockport,” he said.

He said no towns in West or East Sussex, Hampshire or Surrey had won and the winners were towns affected much more by the recession than Midhurst which had not started to address the problem.

In contrast Midhurst had already carried out shop front improvement and retailer training with £80,000 funding from Chichester District Council and SEEDA.

“We are working on a project supported by West Sussex County Council to review and realign our Midhurst Vision programs to current economic conditions and to support the wider Midhurst economy.

“The exciting redevelopment of Market Square, the investment in The New Grange, and the Midhurst Rother College development which opens in September are all bringing to Midhurst much needed investment on which we must capitalise in order to sustain our town centre.”

Mr Quilter said an action plan was being finalised and “we are working on the best way to harness the skill and enthusiasm of the team that worked together on it in a new ‘Town Team’ to ensure that the many committed people have the means to work together.”