Shocking figures which spotlight high levels of unemployment and multiple deprivation in Midhurst’s biggest housing estate have been revealed.
Now Gordon McAra, Midhurst’s independent district councillor, says urgent action should be taken to improve the situation on the Holmbush Estate.
He is convinced the key lies in the development of two large areas of industrial land at Midhurst to provide much needed jobs.
Chichester District Council released the latest data for each of the 72 wards across its area.
The collated figures show the Holmbush estate as having the sixth-highest level of multiple deprivation – which includes income, employment and health deprivation, education skills and training, crime and living environment – across the 72 wards of the district.
The figures also reveal Holmbush has the 14th-highest level of unemployment.
Midhurst town councillor Win Passmore has lived on the Holmbush estate for 32 years.
She said it had remained largely unchanged over the last three decades and could see Chichester District Council’s statistics for the area brought to life.
“There is a lot of social deprivation amongst people on the estate,” she told the Observer.
“It’s a downward spiral because parents can’t get jobs and give up all hope of working and it transfers to their children.
They leave school without training, and can’t get work, they lose the will to even try, so they go on the dole and stay on it because they have no hope for the future.”
She said there was a high percentage of single mothers on the estate, trying to bring up children on their own.
There were also children in their 20s and 30s who remained at home with their parents because they could not afford to leave and find accommodation of their own.
There was no incentive to work because in the main, jobs locally required qualifications which they did not possess and had no way of gaining.
The problems left people frustrated and resulted in anti social behaviour and rising crime.
She believed it was imperative to provide local jobs to ‘get the kids off the streets’. And she agreed with Chichester district councillor Gordon McAra that it was crucial to bring forward employment on the two industrial sites at Midhurst on the West Sussex County Council tip site in Bepton Road and the Cowdray Estate owned former brickworks.
“These areas are just standing empty and going to waste.
“As long as planners are prepared to leave it as it is we are not going to solve any of the problems on Holmbush and they could be solved with jobs if only people would address the issues.”
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