Vision of Midhurst sports ‘centre’ is shattered

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  • Developers have withdrawn plans to build on the Midhurst Bowls Club site
  • the club was relying on funds from the sale to buy and develop new facilities with the tennis club
  • The tennis club uses its club site under licence and the land could now be remarketed

THE DREAM of a new sports centre for Midhurst bowls and tennis clubs has been shattered after developers pulled out of a deal which would have provided vital funds.

Affinity Sutton has withdrawn plans for eight homes on the current bowls club-owned site in June Lane. Members were relying on funds from the sale, to buy land across the road in a joint deal with the tennis club.

In a way we are left, worse off than we were before the convent was re-developed because Affinity Sutton now own everything up to our fence and there is no access to our land apart from over theirs

They already had permission to build a new pavilion and rink on the convent-owned former playing field which has been used for many years under licence by the tennis club.

Tennis club chairman Paul Ryrie said: “This impacts on us as much if not more than the bowls club.

“We have a grant from Sport England to improve our facilities and we have done a huge amount of planning work over the last 18 months, but the whole thing hinged on Affinity Sutton developing the bowls club land. That is now dead in the water. We are very disappointed.

“We only have a licence to use the convent land and so don’t have any security. The agent managing the land is proposing to re-market it and anybody could buy it.

“We have a long standing relationship with the nuns and we hope they would not sell over our heads. We are concerned, but I have faith they would not do that to us.”

Bowls club chairman Howard Seymour said: “In a way we are left, worse off than we were before the convent was re-developed because Affinity Sutton now own everything up to our fence and there is no access to our land apart from over theirs.

“We are now unable to sell to any other party. Obviously all we can look at is how to redevelop our existing site, but we have no idea how we would finance that.”

An Affinity Sutton spokesman said: “Due to changes in the housing market Affinity Sutton is reviewing its proposals for this development.”

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