Family wants to build a new swimming pool for Midhurst

Oaklands Lane view from North
Oaklands Lane view from North

A FAMILY is hoping to build an indoor swimming pool that can be used by the Midhurst community.

Alexandra and Richard Kershaw have submitted a planning application to the South Downs National Park to build a 14x6m swimming pool on their family-owned field south of Woodside, Oaklands Lane in West Lavington.

“We hope this will become a valued and much-loved facility, as we believe Midhurst sorely needs a pool for schools to access,” said Alexandra.

“Unfortunately our funds and site are unable to stretch to a full-size 25m pool, as this would have been ideal.

“However we hope a 14m learner pool, privately funded by ourselves, is a step in the right direction.”

Currently living in naval accommodation in Petersfield with her husband, a Royal Navy doctor, and her two young children, Alexandra said she wanted to return to Midhurst, where she grew up.

She has worked at St Richard’s Hospital for more than seven years and is currently working part-time as a senior sister in the A&E department.

“We have approached many of the local primary schools and have letters of support from Fernhurst and Easebourne primary and Conifers, who currently all bus their pupils to Petersfield Taro centre and Haselmere community centres respectively,” said Alexandra.

“The pool is aimed at teaching younger children, mother and baby/toddler lessons, as well as having dedicated adult swim sessions and aqua aerobics throughout the week.

“To be able to provide this facility at a reduced cost to primary schools, we are proposing to have two holiday lets, which will subsidise the running costs of the pool, as well as boost local spend and tourism to the South Downs National Park.

“The development also includes a family home for my young family – a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and one more due in July.

“The buildings are very tastefully designed to fit with the surrounding area, the pool building will be mostly dug into the hill and covered with a grass roof to minimise the impact, leaving the remaining buildings to look like a collection of farm buildings.”

The application and business plan can be found on the South Downs National Park website using the reference SDNP/14/01795/FUL.

The deadline for comments is May 21.