Survey shows Midhurst supports a greener, more pedestrian and cycling friendly town
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Almost 600 people completed a recent Midhurst Vision survey, with even more people visiting the exhibition at The Grange Leisure Centre which outlined the proposals. The exhibition outlined two key areas for improvement.
First, making the town look more attractive through a cohesive design approach to planting, landscape materials and signage. Secondly better pedestrian links between the different areas of town, to ensure footfall increases in the quieter areas and encourage visitors to explore the whole town.
The survey asked three key questions and the answer to all three was a resounding ‘yes’:
• 86% of respondents agreed Midhurst should be greener and more pedestrian and cycling friendly.
• 67% said they’d be happy to park in one of Midhurst’s three car parks instead of trying to park on the street.
• 79% supported the idea of a 20mph speed zone in the town centre, making the town safer for both pedestrians and cyclists.
Parking is always contentious, so it’s important to stress that whilst there will be some parking restrictions, there is no intention to remove all on-street parking in Midhurst. It’s also relevant that in Petersfield, Haslemere, Petworth and Chichester – all towns which Midhurst competes with – people have become accustomed to going straight to a car park and then walking in to town. From the shopper’s perspective, Midhurst’s parking is considerably cheaper than most surrounding towns, with two hours’ free parking at The Grange and 1 hour free at North Street and the Post Office car parks. This is good for local businesses too as evidence shows that people stay longer and spend more when they use a car park.
Any changes will take time and investment, so Midhurst Vision is approaching this one step at a time. The first project is to encourage more people to park in The Grange car park and use better signage and information to welcome people to the town. This project will also include the creation of a ‘greener’, more attractive entrance and walkway from The Grange car park to the Old Town. Local retailer and Midhurst Vision Partnership CIC director, Geoff Allnutt said, “The Grange Green Walkway should bring several benefits –increases in footfall to the Old Town, a better-looking route into town and reduce pressure on North Street car park and on-street parking”.
Initial review and design concept work is being undertaken by Deacon Design Landscape Architects, funded by Chichester District Council (CDC), with some support from Midhurst Town Council (MTC), Cowdray Estate and South Downs National Park.
“The Midhurst Vision is a really important project and I have been following and supporting the work they and their partners have been doing for the last few years. As Leader of Chichester District Council I’m really delighted that we’ve been able to provide financial support to help them progress some of their inspirational plans. We wish to see Midhurst thrive and we want to see improvement to the public realm.” Councillor Adrian Moss.
Richard Watts, Chair of Midhurst Town Council said: “Having worked closely with Midhurst Vision CIC, MTC is in support of the placemaking proposals. We share the aspiration to try to make our town greener and more pedestrian and cycling friendly while reducing traffic and parking congestion.”
Though all these plans will take time, the goal of improving Midhurst was welcomed by those who participated in the consultation -. One comment summed this up well: “Fantastic – certainly worth making these changes to improve the experience of visiting Midhurst for everyone.”.
Go to midhurstvision.org to find out more about the plans and the Midhurst Vision Partnership.