WITH local and general elections looming, small businesses and chambers of commerce are wading into the political debate, airing their views on what the next government should do to boost the economy.
Vice-chairman of Midhurst Town Council and founding member of the Midhurst Town Team, John Quilter has long been at the heart of promoting the vitality and viability of the economy in the market town of Midhurst.
We desperately need more affordable housing to enable those who work here to be able to afford to live locally and we need to see increased national and local support for this
This week, he asked: “With May 7 rapidly approaching what does the economy of a market town like Midhurst need from national and local government in the years ahead?”
He said issues included affordable housing and tourism.
Mr Quilter said: “The town centre housing developments we’ve had in Midhurst are good for the town as our shops, restaurants, hotels, pubs and coffee shops have more residents as potential customers.
“We however desperately need more affordable housing to enable those who work here to be able to afford to live locally and we need to see increased national and local support for this.
“We need the new homes bonus, which brings grants for projects in the community related to the number of new homes built here, kept in place and strengthened. These funds must be used locally and additional to district and county projects.
He has already expressed concern over the soaring cost of homes in the South Downs National Park.
A survey at the end of last year revealed homes cost 70 per cent more inside the park than outside its boundaries.
He voiced the concern that local people were being priced out of the market as developers told a government planning inspector the South Downs National Park Authority would not take its share of new housing over the next 15 years.
Mr Quilter warned: While the ‘national park’ premium is no doubt good news for home-owners, we do need to balance this by ensuring there is sufficient affordable housing.”