PLANS to build a new neighbourhood policing base in Midhurst have hit a snag.
The long-awaited plans which would mean the closure of the current police station in Bepton Road and replacing it with a new base attached to the Grange Centre have been submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority.
But they have been given the thumbs down by members of Midhurst Town Council.
The proposals to build the single-storey extension on the north-eastern side of the centre close to Grange Road, went before the town council’s planning committee for consideration.
Although they welcomed the proposal to create a new base, members said they were very disappointed with the standard of the design.
Objecting to the application, made by Chichester District Council they said the considered it was ‘ill fitting and unsympathetic to the Conservation Area’.
The planning committee said the proposed extension did nothing to enhance the existing building and the roof line did not fit well with the general appearance.
They said they believed ‘there could be an alternative site to construct this extension which would better accommodate it’.
The plan to close the present police station and build the new base is a result of a review of future policing across Sussex outlined in the Sussex Police Estates and Future Workplace Strategy document.
The aim of the review was to ‘improve the delivery of policing services for the public in an affordable and cost-effective way’ and the proposals for Midhurst came after consultation between Sussex Police, Chichester District Council and the Grange Community and Leisure Centre.
The proposed extension is attached to the Grange, close to Grange Road where it meets the northern perimeter of the site and acts as a service route to the leisure centre.
Along the north-eastern boundary of the leisure centre site is the former magistrates’ court building, post office and Grange House.
The whole Grange site sits south of Midhurst town centre within the conservation area.
The Grange Leisure Centre building itself is owned and operated by Chichester District Council (CDC), with the new library, which has just celebrated its first birthday, operated by West Sussex County Council (WSCC).
The proposed neighbourhood policing base extension would be leased from CDC and operated by Sussex police.
The five-year police strategy to 2018 aims to improve the accessibility of services for the public and provide more convenient locations for them to contact the police.