Plan to turn Midhurst offices into homes gets thumbs down

PLANS to turn offices at Hatton House and The Gables in Midhurst’s Bepton Road have met with objections from Midhurst town councillors.

At their planning meeting on Monday (February 27) councillors examined plans to turn Hatton House into a single residential house and The Gables into two flats.

John Quilter told fellow members of the committee he felt it would be detrimental to the town to lose these commercial offices from the central area of Midhurst.

He said he had been unable to find any evidence that the offices had been offered for commercial rental and that there had been no demand for them.

He pointed to a letter of objection received by town councillors from a current commercial tenant of one of the properties who said: “Several large planning applications for residential development have already been approved in the area and there is no demonstrable need for yet more residential accommodation.

“As the town develops there will be greater need for office accommodation.”

Gordon McAra told the meeting in order to maintain the commercial viability of the town small office units for small to medium businesses should be maintained.

There was, he said, currently full occupancy and no evidence that units soon to be vacated by national park staff would not be in demand.

Colin Hughes said he was also reluctant to see any reduction in the level of commercial property available in the town which he felt would adversely affect the town’s viability.

His proposal that the town council should object to the application on the grounds that it failed to safeguard business floor space in the town, was agreed by the committee.

The application will now be decided at Chichester District Council.