Views of Midhurst residents ‘ignored’ as Grange site sold for a care home

The district council has been accused of showing a ‘total lack of understanding’ over plans to sell the former Grange Centre site for a care home to be built there.

Carol Lintott, chairman of Midhurst Town Council , left, and Chichester district councillor Tony Dignum, right
Carol Lintott, chairman of Midhurst Town Council , left, and Chichester district councillor Tony Dignum, right

Midhurst’s former Grange Centre site is being sold to developers who announced plans for a ‘much needed’ and ‘high quality’ care home.

The site is being purchased from Chichester District Council (CDC) by the healthcare developer Montpelier Estates.

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The council confirmed this week that contracts have been exchanged and said once planning permission is secured, completion of the sale can then go ahead.

The move has led the town council to accuse CDC of showing a ‘total lack of understanding’ and a ‘disconnect’ with the aspirations of residents.

The site of the former Grange Centre, bulldozed in 2014, has been empty for more than six years and three attempts to sell it for a supermarket have failed.

Plans were abandoned in 2017.

The district council was also accused in 2018 of ignoring the views of Midhurst residents who said they ‘do not need another care home’.

A town council spokesman said: “Midhurst Town Council continues to strongly disagree with those Chichester district councillors who think that a care home is the best long term solution for the site of the old Grange Centre.

“It shows a total lack of understanding of what Midhurst needs and a disconnect with the aspirations of our residents. We are disappointed that the voice of the town has been ignored in favour of the highest bid.”

District councillor Tony Dignum, cabinet member for growth, place and regeneration, said: “The exchange represents an important moment for the town, and demonstrates that the developer has confidence in Midhurst and is committed to transforming this site and meeting a genuine community need in the town.”

James McGarry, of Montpelier Estates, said: “We are delighted and excited to have this opportunity to bring a much needed, high quality care home to the area of Midhurst.

“As specialists in the design and development of a wide range of care facilities we look forward to working closely with the South Downs National Park Authority, local authority and local community.

“We aim to provide a new asset for the community and a design solution that enhances its urban setting and responds to the sensitivity of the site.

“To this end we have engaged Yiangou Architects, an award-winning practice with a reputation for creating high-quality, carefully considered and imaginative design solutions.

“Should the planning application be successful, the home will be operated by the Berkeley Care Group. BCG are renowned for innovation in delivering outstanding, all inclusive, safe and homely luxury care.”

In 2018 following a competitive bidding process, councillors decided a bid for a care home would be the best long term solution for the site.