PLANS for a new police base in Midhurst have been given the green light despite councillors being ‘disappointed’ with the design of the building.
The proposal for a single storey extension on the Grange Leisure Centre, which will become the base for Sussex Police in Midhurst, were approved by councillors last week (May 27).
Chichester District Council’s (CDC) planning committee unanimously agreed approval for the scheme.
However, independent councillor for Midhurst Gordon McAra said the building would look like a ‘bunker’, ‘bolted on’ to the side of the leisure centre.
“It is a shame that the police authority couldn’t get its act together a few years ago, when the Grange was still being designed,” said cllr McAra, who echoed the concerns raised by Midhurst Town Council.
Unfortunately, it’s now a ‘bolt on’ to the existing building and to avoid blocking a window, looks like a bunker set into the ground. It does nothing for the appearance of the Grange, which is a shame
“The police station could have been integrated into the overall building design.
“Unfortunately, it’s now a ‘bolt on’ to the existing building and to avoid blocking a window, looks like a bunker set into the ground.
“It does nothing for the appearance of the Grange, which is a shame.”
The base, which will be smaller than the current building in Bepton Road, will comprise a lobby/waiting area for the public, interview room, general office, locker room and kitchen, and will be separate from the main leisure centre.
Midhurst Town Council raised an objection to the plans citing issues with the design of the building, which town councillors labelled ‘unsympathetic’.
In its objection letter the council said: “The Town Council welcomes the proposal to create a neighbourhood policing base but is very disappointed with the standard of the design of this proposal.
“The proposed extension does nothing to enhance the existing building and the roof line does not fit well with the general appearance.
“Members felt there may be an alternative site to construct this extension which would better accommodate it.
“The Town Council objects to the application which it considers ill fitting and unsympathetic to the conservation area.”
CDC officers recommended approval of the project as it was in the ‘most accessible’ location for members of the public from the town centre, and caused minimal disruption to the main leisure centre.