After plans to turn the site into a nursing home were resubmitted (SDNP/22/02466/FUL), Midhurst County Councilor Dr Kate O’Kelly said that for at least eight years, the council had “not asked or listened” to residents. from Midhurst on the best option for the future of the site.
The original Grange Center in Bepton Road was bulldozed in 2014 and since then there have been plans to turn it into a supermarket and even a public swimming pool – both of which failed – and plans to build a care home proved unpopular. residents and councilors of Midhurst.
Responding to criticism, a spokesperson for Chichester District Council said: ‘Council has marketed the site extensively and considered various uses over the years. As many people know, we initially hoped that a grocery store would move to the site. However, the developers pulled out of the deal due to the economic issues facing the food retail industry.
“We went to the market several times and considered various offers for the site. Decisions surrounding the site were carefully debated and reviewed by councillors.
“Following the marketing process, the advisers decided that an offer for a retirement home would be the best long-term solution for the site. The retirement home hopes to create more than 16 new jobs in the town and would help meet the needs of an aging population and growing demand for care. The retirement home would also draw on the services of local businesses in the area, thereby boosting the local economy.
“Since the exchange of contracts with the developer, a lot of work has been done by the latter behind the scenes in relation to the site’s planning request. As many people know, the process of selling and developing a site of this nature can be a complex and time-consuming process and this is something we monitor closely.
“The council is committed to providing the best value for its residents and businesses, and money generated from the site will be reinvested in vital community services.
“We are also committed to assisting Midhurst in its visioning process. This includes finding innovative ways to improve the city center and further enhance it as a key tourist destination.