Developer rapped for unfounded Midhurst land claim

A housing association has moved swiftly to clear its name after being accused of a ‘wildly inappropriate’ claim to a major development site in the centre of Midhurst.

Billboards appeared on the former St Margaret’s Convent School site in Petersfield Road, Shortly after Christmas declaring the site had been acquired by McCarthy and Stone for retirement apartments.

They provoked the anger of housing association Affinity Sutton which is in the process of obtaining planning permission to redevelop the site with a mixture of private and affordable homes and sheltered apartments.

A spokesman for McCarthy and Stone has now apologised for the ‘premature internal error’.

Julian Wilkinson, senior land manager at Affinity Sutton, told the Observer the actions of the retirement-living specialist company had been ‘wildly inappropriate’.

He said Affinity Sutton was pursuing planning permission and actively engaged with planning officers for the South Downs National Park Authority.

It had been hoped its planning application would go before the national park planning committee his month, but, said Mr Wilkinson, this had not been possible and it would probably be discussed at February’s meeting.

He said the site was still owned by the convent sisters, but Affinity Sutton had a legal agreement to buy if planning consent went ahead.

For full story see Midhurst and Petworth Observer January 12,