Midhurst’s ‘secret gardens: Artist impressions released when the plans were unveiled

Steve Morley  in front of the wall that hides the gardens
Steve Morley in front of the wall that hides the gardens

Affinity Sutton unveiled its plans for the former St Margaret’s Convent in Midhurst’s Petersfield Road in 2011.

These artists impressions gave members of the public an idea of what was being proposed in May 2011.

An artist's impression of the proposed development in Midhurst  in 2011

An artist's impression of the proposed development in Midhurst in 2011

Although later the plan to lower the wall fronting onto Petersfield Road was dropped, town councillors said they always understood the gardens behind them would be open to the public.

Chairman of Midhurst Town Council’s planning committee Gordon McAra said: “We have always identified it as a public garden.”

This is the latest controversy for Affinity Sutton’s Midhurst development.

Last year it was described as a ‘monstrosity’ and an ‘abomination’ by neighbours.

An artists impression of the development in 2011

An artists impression of the development in 2011

The plan was the first to be called in for discussion by the new South Downs National Park planning committee who gave the plan the thumbs up.

But as the houses took shape neighbours became increasingly angry and took to social media to have their voice.

At the time Joyce Ferguson development director for Affinity Sutton said: “The final design retains and enhances original features of the Regency Villa and has been scrutinised and subsequently approved under three separate planning approvals.”

Tim Slaney, director of planning for the park said there were no representations against the development at the planning meeting in February 2012.

He said it was unfair it judge it without seeing the buildings ‘in their final context’.

He added that planning permission was granted on the basis: “the development would conserve and enhance a listed Regency Villa and would provide housing for local needs - including affordable housing.”

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