Plans for Midhurst Bowls Club’s new facilities remain ‘in limbo’

Members of the Midhurst Bowls Club
Members of the Midhurst Bowls Club

Midhurst Bowls Club’s plans to build state-of-the-art new facilities have remained ‘in limbo’ as discussions over the future of their existing site continue.

For around six years, the club has been hoping to sell its land in June Lane and build new facilities next to the tennis club across the street.

However this is dependent on funding from the sale of the existing site.

Plans have been submitted to Chichester District Council by Kudu Investment Group for six new homes on the bowling green, in the latest of a series of proposals for the land.

But the council has said it will not support the planning application unless two affordable homes are included in the scheme, as required by the South Downs National Park local plan – which is anticipated to be adopted today.

The developer has argued that providing affordable housing at the development would not be viable.

In a financial viability report submitted to the council, the developer said the scheme would already result in a negative return of 2.86 per cent – and that including affordable homes would further reduce this level.

The council has responded by requesting that an independent viability assessment is carried out.

Malcolm Hutchings, treasurer of the club, said the issue had been running for ‘six odd years’ and said: “We’ve been in limbo for years.

“We’ve had various developers trying try to get approval but the council keep changing the goal posts.

“I don’t see how one or two affordable homes are going to make much difference.”

He said the club was keen to see the application approved so that they could get started on their new facilities.

“The benefits it would bring the community would far outweigh the planning objections,” he said.

“The atmosphere from the club is so beneficial for people, the social side.”

A spokesman from the South Downs National Park Authority said: “Chichester District Council is dealing with the application on behalf of SDNPA under the partnership arrangement between the two authorities.

“We cannot comment on a live planning application, however, the South Downs National Park Local Plan is anticipated to be adopted on 2 July.

“The Local Plan includes a policy on Affordable Housing and any application made within the National Park would need to be assessed against this policy with consideration of its individual context and merits.”

The planning application currently lodged with the council is a revision of a previous scheme, which was thrown out by planners in May 2018 and later dismissed at appeal.

A string of applications for the site have previously been blocked by planners.

View the current planning application by searching SDNP/19/00832/FUL.

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