Retirement homes plan for Midhurst town centre industrial site

The Frazer-Nash site which has become derelict over the last six years
The Frazer-Nash site which has become derelict over the last six years

New plans could be in the pipeline, to turn a prominent Midhurst town centre industrial site, abandoned six years ago, into retirement homes.

Developers are having ‘pre application’ talks with planning officers at the South Downs National Park with the aim of developing 16 retirement units for the over 55 age group on the former Frazer-Nash site in Bepton Road.

The precision engineering company left the site on the junction of Bepton Road and White City in 2011 for an industrial park at Petersfield. It was sold for redevelopment the following year.

Town councillors have long complained that it has become an derelict eyesore and the site is now the subject of an enforcement order from Chichester District Council for the owners to clear up the overgrowth.

But now Murray Planning Associates have been instructed by Lilyford Homes to sound out planners on their proposals for retirement homes after demolishing the existing industrial building and offices on the site.

Plans for a mixed development at Dundee House with retail units, offices and flats were refused by the national park in 2014 because of concerns of the scheme’s effect on the character and appearance of the Midhurst Conservation area.

They were however given permission after an appeal to a government planning inspector in 2015, but the development never took place.

Richard Murray told planners extensive marketing took place after planning permission was granted but no firm interest materialised and the permission is due to expire in February next year.

“Consequently my client is looking to present an appropriate and viable alternative use for the site in order that redevelopment proceeds. Given the marketing evidence available we feel there is justification in planning policy terms to move away from the existing and approved employment uses.”

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