Work on Midhurst’s Market Square to start next year

LONG-awaited enhancement work in the historic core of Midhurst, which have been plagued by setbacks, are now scheduled to start at the beginning of next year.

The £400,000 scheme to make improvements to Churchill and Market Square has been on the drawing board for several years, but has been the subject of repeated delays.

Despite promises the scheme would finally go ahead this month, changes to the plans when they were approved by the South Downs National Park in May have 
created more problems.

Fiona Baker, community officer for the West Sussex County Council’s county local committee, told a meeting on Tuesday: “The main reason for the delay is to do with the conditions placed by the national park on materials to be used. The Horsham stone specified is not good enough for the job.”

A high specification of natural stone has now been specified which will increase the cost of the scheme, but, said Miss Baker: “everything is in place and set to go at the beginning of 2013.”

The meeting heard the cost of the scheme is now estimated at £376,000. £200,000 of this is has been donated by the Monument Trust.

The remaining £176,000 will come from West Sussex County Council.

The meeting was told £30,000 has already been spent by the county council getting the scheme to the detailed design stage.

The county local committee approved the scheme in April last year.

The overall aim is to enhance and revamp the Town Trust-owned Market Square to meet its potential as a public space and encourage recreational use there and the holding of markets.