Hopes for state-of-the-art bowls club are dashed again

There was yet another disappointment for Midhurst Bowls Club members when the latest plans to build new homes on their present bowling green in June Lane were thrown out by planners.

Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:45 am
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The club has long held ambitions to sell its ground and move across June Lane to build state-of-the-art new facilities next to the tennis club.

But it needs funding from the sale to carry out its plans and a string of applications from developers have been blocked by planners.

The latest proposal to fail came from Edward Hutley, who wanted to demolish the existing bowls club buildings and construct five new homes and a new access.

It has been refused on the grounds it would ‘fail to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the Midhurst Conservation Area’.

Planners said the proposal also conflicted with the ‘statutory purpose of the South Downs National Park designation to conserve and enhance its cultural heritage’.

The refusal comes after a similar proposal for five new homes, submitted in October last year, was also thrown out.

Earlier plans were scuppered when Affinity Sutton pulled the plug on talks to buy the bowling club site and build eight homes next to its completed development on the former St Margaret’s Convent.

The bowls club, which celebrated its centenary in 2012, has been planning its move across the road to buy the former St Margaret’s Convent playing field for more than eight years.

Writing a personal letter in support of the latest proposals, club chairman Howard Seymour told planners: “We do not have a full sized square rink so can only play east to west, which doubles the wear on the grass.

“We have a major access problem of steep steps which makes disabled or infirm access impossible.”

He said permission would give the club funds to move to a purpose built site.

Members had just received renewed planning approval for this.