DIY affordable homes scheme looks at Midhurst sites

Founders of the Midhurst Community Land Trust, from left, town councillors the Rev David Coote and Gordon McAra and Adrian Moore, who is the chairman
Founders of the Midhurst Community Land Trust, from left, town councillors the Rev David Coote and Gordon McAra and Adrian Moore, who is the chairman

Midhurst’s ‘do-it-yourself’ scheme to try and provide much-needed homes for people on low incomes in the town and the surrounding villages is looking at possible sites for development.

In an update on work being carried out by the trust which was launched last year, the man heading it up, retired investment specialist Adrian Moore, said: “Locally we have been busy talking to as many people as possible about suitable sites for us to develop.

“We have consulted on seven sites and at the moment have ruled out two of them (one being the Grange centre as it was too expensive) but we are still looking at another five.

“None of them are perfect and each has its own problems.

“Two of them are large, covering several acres, and will take a lot of time to resolve the problems but hopefully we will overcome them in fullness of time.

“The other three are smaller and would be easier to handle in the short term and one of them, currently owned by a housing association, is our red hot favourite to potentially be our first development and our fingers are crossed that we can purchase or hopefully be given the site and we can make it happen.”

He said the trust was now fully incorporated as Midhurst CLT Ltd and the registered address was at the Old Library in Knockhundred Row.

“Since our last update,” said Adrian, “we have worked with Chichester District Council, who are backing us with some outside consultancy help and mentoring and one session has already taken place which we all found helpful. There is certainly a lot of help out there for CLTs and knowing where to get it is the key.”

He said the Midhurst team had recognised the necessity of drawing up a ‘robust’ set of rules for who might benefit from the trust.

“After viewing a lot of others we are putting together a draft rule book which we will share in due course because we need input as to whether we have got it right. Our primary thinking is that we want local people to benefit and deliver genuinely affordable housing to the correct people.”

He said it was hoped to hold another public meeting this year to report on progress.