Concern voiced over future of Grange management at Midhurst

Midhurst's Chichester district councillors left Gordon McAra and Steve Morley
Midhurst's Chichester district councillors left Gordon McAra and Steve Morley

CONCERNS have been expressed over the future of Midhurst’s Grange Centre as Chichester District Council (CDC) reviews its leisure services.

Cllr Steve Morley said The Grange offered far more than just leisure facilities. It provided a heart for community facilities and he wanted assurances that future staff would be trained to handle them.

“There is far more than just leisure on offer at the Grange and while Westgate Chichester Centre may be all about sport and leisure, ours in Midhurst is a ‘community’ centre,” he said.

“As staff and personnel alter in the future, can we have assurances the new staff will be aware of all the other facilities offered and supplied by CDC?

“Will they be trained in handling and helping with non-leisure topics,” he asked adding: “I’m concerned since the closure of the CDC office at North Street bus exchange, it might not be long before residents from the north of our district are obliged to travel to Chichester to discuss their concerns and queries. What of the future of any tourist information? Will it be a brochure stand in the corner and a poster of Petworth Park? I raise these concerns as this review does not seem to acknowledge the great difference between managing a leisure centre and managing a community centre.”

Midhurst town councillors are preparing a response to the review at their community care meeting on Monday.

A final decision should be made early next year, with CDC’s overview and scrutiny committee having already discussed the matter.

The committee was told the council had narrowed it down to two potential operators who could run the leisure services.

Gordon McAra, who is leading a CDC task and finish group, told the committee the Grange should be treated differently to Westgate and the Bourne.

“The situation with the Grange slightly different to the others,” he said. “This has been pointed out to the operators who recognise that.”

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