VOTE New youth facilities could be in pipeline

State-of-the-art new youth facilities could be in the pipeline for Midhurst if a volunteer group can be formed to take on its management.

If the project goes forward it could see the demolition of the youth club building in Lamberts Lane and its replacement with a purpose-built centre to be developed at the same time as the new Midhurst Rother College buildings.

But it will be yet another case of volunteers having to step up to the mark and help themselves as West Sussex County council has already shed its funding of community youth clubs.

Colin Hughes told fellow members of Midhurst Town Council there had been ‘drastic’ changes to the youth service which had not escaped the swingeing cuts meted out by West Sussex County Council.

He said: “There is no money for local clubs and the money the county council gave them for leaders and for the management and support of their clubs has been withdrawn totally.

“If local communities wish to run youth clubs they have to do it for nothing or town and parish councils have to help fund them.”

He said there was a problem with current provision in Midhurst because although the club would remain as a ‘hub’ working in a more targeted area, the club building was past its prime.

It had been set up in 1952 when the previous Lord Cowdray donated land in Lamberts Lane for its home.

But Mr Hughes said Midhurst Rother College would not require the tennis court of the youth club land when the new college opened next year.

He had now approached WSCC and asked if the ‘sizeable plot’ could be sold and the money gained used to build a new youth club for the town.

Midhurst Rother College had tentatively agreed to the building of the new youth club in the former stable buildings next to what used to be Whiphill Farmhouse.

“We have WSCC’s property department on board, the county youth service on board and Midhurst Rother College on board,” said Mr Hughes.

“It all seems very positive and we could provide a new youth club for the town.”

He said it would provide a home for play leader Chris Resigh’s Midhurst Nursery Class and also be available for the use of the community in the evenings.

Mr Hughes said he believed Midhurst Town Council could play a valuable role in fostering the creation of a trust.

He asked for the support of town councillors in presenting a case for the setting up and running of a youth centre.

They welcomed the initiative and agreed to the preparation of a proposal to the county council supporting the formation of an independent trust to manage and maintain the building.