Fears have been voiced that Midhurst is ‘dull, sad, untidy, rundown and in dire need of an injection of optimism’.
Steve Morley told a full meeting of the town council on Monday, February 18, the views had been expressed to him by residents and traders: “I’m sure I shall be taken to task over such comments but from where I sit, I feel obliged to report it to council.”
Many residents and traders were unhappy, he reported adding: “Midhurst has the blues.”
He said the mood was not helped by yet more roadworks in North Street, the closure of ‘prominent restaurants and retail outlets’ and the prospect of a 60 bed care home.
But after further investigation he said he found the blues went deeper than that. “I have been made aware of a genuine belief on the part of residents (and fear from traders) that our town is dull, sad, untidy, rundown and in dire need of an injection of optimism.”
He said the council had been accused of not being concerned when shops and cafés closed or another charity shop opened, which was not true.
The problem he believed was a ‘lack of opportunity to share information’.
“Ironically, at a time when there has never been such a vast choice of communication methods we seem incapable of sharing any kind of communal vision.”
It was unclear, he said, who was leading the current Midhurst Vision exercise, which could also be part of the problem: “We suggested, unlike the last vision, we are missing a leader. We have a supporter, our rural towns co-ordinator, but no leader.”
“So how are we, the residents, traders and councillors to communicate and progress a vision? Is the lack of a leader indicative of how everyone really feels – that no-one in Midhurst wants to take up the reins?”