Action needed on site

THE SITUATION of neglect at the Heritage site in Chichester shows what can happen when a quasi-public body attempts to play the property market – and fails.

Looking at last week’s front page report there are suspicions that Hyde Martlet expected to generate enormous revenues by evicting elderly residents and redeveloping the site of their former homes. But they timed it badly – and the move coincided with the property crash.

With the onset of bleaker times for property development, Hyde Martlet seems to be playing for time and hoping for a future upturn. As the custodians of a major location for public sector housing they must not be allowed to continue with this open-ended speculative gambling.

It is disappointing Chichester District Council, and its representatives on the Hyde Martlet board, have not stepped in to demand action.

Local residents attended two recent consultation meetings with Hyde Martlet and its contractors, who have twice presented timetables for demolition to begin.

First we were told that work would start in May, then in July – but still nothing has happened. The site is a shameful mess, with tatty hoardings a previous infestation of rats and overgrown shrubberies.

Even when the situation of neglect was reported in the Chichester Observer last week, Hyde Martlet felt no pressure to account for its position. The Hyde Martlet organisation appears to have no respect for its responsibilities in the community.

Even worse, elected representatives at all levels have failed to intervene on our behalf.

I call upon Hyde Martlet to present an alternative costing for the refurbishment of the site as affordable housing for those in need since they have failed to execute their redevelopment proposals over a period of five years.

The buildings are not old, and this would be a far more sustainable approach than demolition.

The site needs urgently to be restored to proper use as housing, not left to fester and rot.

Adrienne Ogden

Winden Avenue, Chichester