Developers fighting for planning permission to restore Midhurst’s historic former King Edward VII Hospital have mounted a two-pronged attack.
Last week they put forward new proposals for consideration by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), and now they have lodged an appeal against the refusal of their previous plans.
They say if their plans are thrown out again, a ‘prolonged and costly appeal’ was due to be heard before the end of the year.
City and Country have submitted slightly-altered proposals based on the plans which were thrown out by the national park authority in July.
They have also asked for an extension of planning permission for a plan approved by Chichester District Council nearly three years ago.
Helen Moore, residential managing director, said: “A solution must be found to preserve and restore these nationally important Grade II* and Grade II heritage assets if they are not be to left to decay still further and eventually be lost forever.
“We have therefore submitted a revised application bringing forward ideas previously tabled and combining them with further information which is designed to answer the questions and concerns raised by English Heritage and members of the SDNPA planning committee.”
She said while the overall number of units on the site remained the same as in the previous proposals, there had been an increase in residential units and a reduction in the number of assisted care units.
Developers had also brought forward the build programme to ensure the heritage assets were restored as soon as possible.
“Time is of the essence when dealing with highly significant listed heritage assets in order to minimise the risk of damage to the empty buildings from threats such as fire or vandalism and to prevent deterioration which in this instance will only serve to increase the conservation deficit still further.
“City and County has therefore also lodged an appeal against the refusal of the previous applications to ensure that either way a long term future is secured for the King Edward VII estate as soon as possible.”
She said she hoped the revised application would remove the final concerns of national park planning officers, adding: ”The approval of our proposal will also avoid the need for a prolonged and costly appeal.”
She said she hoped the plan would be decided before the end of the year and, if it was refused, the appeal was due to be heard in December.
Meanwhile members of Easebourne Parish Council have objected to extended permission for the 2008 plan on the grounds that financial viability information (not available in 2008 and now provided by the firm) showed the 2008 scheme would have had a very large financial deficit.
They also objected to the new application, based on the one refused in July on the grounds it was exacerbated by the larger number of properties proposed. “Increased open market housing, and the reduction in assisted care units will only mean increased traffic flow,” said members.