Why weren’t Midhurst town councillors consulted on final Market Square plans?

Midhurst town councillors have expressed concern that they were not consulted before the long-awaited plans to enhance the historic core of the town were given their final approval.

It was the subject of deep controversy when plans were first brought forward some two years ago and residents formed a campaigning group to ensure they had a voice in the proposals.

A new scheme resulted after discussions between West Sussex County Council which is to fund part of the scheme, Midhurst Town Trust which owns the Market Square as well as Midhurst Town Council and MOTRA (Midhurst Old Town Residents Association).

Gordon McAra told fellow members of Midhurst Town Council on Monday he believed planners at the South Downs National Park had done an ‘excellent job’ negotiating with designers at the county council to come up with a scheme which included alterations requested, but he believed the application should have come back to town councillors for consultation once details changed.

“Instead the national park signed it off on May 16 under delegated powers to the officers,” he said.

Director of Planning for the South Downs National Park Tim Slaney said he did not know the specific details of the way the Market Square plan had progressed.

“But in general terms if there are significant amendments there will be re-consultation, if they are minor amendments it is not standard practice to go out to consultation again.”

Full story Midhurst and Petworth Observer July 19