Former Midhurst library plans look set to go ahead

Former Midhurst Library ENGSUS00120131022140147
Former Midhurst Library ENGSUS00120131022140147

AMBITIOUS plans for a community takeover of Midhurst’s historic former library in Knockhundred Row look set to go ahead this summer.

Midhurst Town Council is leading the project to provide a new home for the museum as well as offices for the town council itself and space for voluntary groups and the rural town manager.

In addition it could be used for functions including weddings, dinners and events for community organisations such as the town’s nine day art and drama festival MADhurst.

Vice chairman of Midhurst Town Council John Quilter told fellow members the working party had met library owners West Sussex County Council to discuss the terms of a lease and reached agreement in principle subject to the final lease being prepared.

The town council plans to lease the building for three years and during that time rise funds to buy it as a community asset.

West Sussex County Council has put a £350,000 price tag on the building.

“West Sussex County Council would like us to start the lease on July 1,” he said, “ and we have negotiated three months rent free so we can get it decorated and do minimal repairs.”

Town councillors stressed the purchase price would be raised from ‘charitable locations’.

Mr Quilter told fellow councillors: “The library is a 400 year old community asset and we want to keep it this historical asset in community use.