Midhurst Community Consultation – Have Your Say

Survey now open until Tuesday 15th November

This consultation is taking place following a community survey in 2019/20 to establish what you consider important to enhance the look and feel of Midhurst and several engagements with key stakeholder groups.

Landscape architect company Deacon Design has undertaken a review of the town centre and is developing a masterplan. The plan identifies and visualises a number of opportunities to make the town more pedestrian and cycling friendly, less congested, greener and more inviting to residents and visitors to help support town centre businesses and attract new ones. You can let us know your views when you visit the exhibition or online.

The proposed projects include enhancing key arrival points to the town with greening, which is complementary to the surrounding South Downs National Park environment and resilient to climate change.  This will create a more welcoming, attractive arrival experience and encourage more visitors all year.  It incorporates new and improved signposting and walking routes beyond these arrival points to shops and businesses, linking all areas of the town.

The longer term proposals to reduce on-street parking on North Street and West Street and encourage better use of the three car parks in the town, will contribute to a reduction in congestion and air pollution which negatively affect perceptions of the town.  As well as boosting visitor spend, it will encourage local residents to enjoy the amenities of the town, rather than drive elsewhere.

These proposals can be viewed in person at The Grange Leisure Centre from 5th – 21st October. Members of the team will be on hand at The Grange to answer questions on Wednesday 5th October, 3.30pm – 7.30pm. Proposals can also be viewed online and commented on until 15 November.

Consultation runs Wednesday 5th October – Tuesday 15th November.

Town analysis and character areas

Section 1 of 5

Positive features 

  • Wealth of historical elements and heritage areas 
  • Architecturally rich with many listed buildings 
  • Beautiful setting and views to the South Downs 
  • Established tree canopy forming a strong backdrop to the town 
  • Public parking wih pedestrian access to key points 
  • Accessibility to the South Downs National Park 

Detrimental features

  • Traffic congestion and anti-social parking 
  • Minimal wayfinding for pedestrians and cyclists 
  • Cluttered streets and a lack of consistency of materials 
  • Little to no sense of arrival to Midhurst 
  • Minimal urban greening 

Character areas – opportunities

Four distinct character areas have been identified. These areas will each have their own style of materials, planting and function which will blend together and give a cohesive identity to the town. 

Main Town 

  • Better visitor/pedestrian experience and return visits 
  • Introduce street trees and planting 
  • Trial retractable bollards to retain loading bays – reduce congestion 
  • Encourage greater use of car parks – less on-street parking 
  • More walking and cycling throughout the town 

Old Town 

  • Increase footfall and make more pedestrian friendly 
  • Create clear walking route from car park to Old Town and Mint Market 
  • Reduce anti-social car parking blocking shops and pavements 
  • Consider making West St one way with more pedestrian space 

Car Parks 

  • Improve sense of arrival 
  • Interpretive boards about Midhurst and South Downs National Park 
  • Clear wayfinding routes linking all parts of the town 
  • Green screening unattractive buildings 
  • Electric charging points in Grange Car Park 

Rural Edge 

  • Improve wayfinding, links to footpaths/cycle paths and town centre 
  • Enhancements to areas near weir and water meadows 

A landscape design led approach

Section 2 of 5

Landscape design

Landscape architects consider and design for all aspects of the public realm in a holistic way – roads, pavements, planting, signs, seating and lighting. 

Our warming climate makes sensitive urban design and the need for more drought tolerant green areas paramount. 

“Good landscape design for Midhurst will create a stronger and more coherent identity for the town, with greening or ‘bringing the South Downs in’ at its core.” 
midhurstvision.org

Benefits of urban greening

 

Soft landscape

Informal Planting | Main Town, Car Parks and Rural Edges

  • Biodiverse with some drought tolerant plants 
  • Variety of native trees and hedges 
  • Seasonal perennial planting – all year interest 
  • Wildflower areas 

Formal Planting | Old Town 

  • Formal street trees 
  • Clipped hedges 
  • Planted containers and baskets 

Hard landscape

  • Needs to be attractive and consistent 
  • Can be used to differentiate areas 
  • Modern and soft edged can work alongside formal heritage 
  • Old town material black and cast iron 
  • Other areas mainly corten steel and timber 

Linking all areas of the town centre

Section 3 of 5

Encouraging walking and cycling

  • Aim for better use of car parks and less on-street parking 

  • Improve signs from car parks to other parts of the town 

  • Increase footfall in quieter areas of town 

  • Encourage walking and cycling for short journeys – school, local amenities, cafes/pubs 

  • Planned Greenway Shared Path from Jubilee Path to Cowdray 

  • Safer/enjoyable cycling away from traffic 

  • More bike racks where cyclists want them 

A cohesive materials palette

“The aim is for planting, hard landscaping, signs and street furniture to be attractive and cohesive throughout the town.”

midhurstvision.org 

Whilst the wayfinding materials will differ to highlight the different settings, there will still be a common design thread that ties them together. Consistency of fonts, design styles and sizes will be across all of the proposed wayfinding. 

Modern

Across the Main Town, Rural Edges and Car Parks, the proposal is for a base of corten steel and timber for the majority of the hard landscaping and wayfinding. This reflects existing signage and creates a warm, coherent, modern design which sits beautifully alongside the more informal landscape. 

Heritage

Through the Old Town, there is existing signage, lighting and other hard landscape details in cast iron. By adding to this and maintaining the style, it maintains the association with the Old Town and merges the new with the old.

Key materials

 

Illustrations of potential improvements

Section 4 of 5

Bepton Road, Police Station

Illustration 1 of 6

Aspirational image:

Significant improvements have been made to this area with the building of Dundee House and the renovation of the pet shop building. 

Planting in the area around the police station in this over-looked part of town will complete the transformation. 

Current view below:

 

Key features

Bepton Road roundabout

Illustration 2 of 6

The first impression of Midhurst from the west is one of congestion with no hint of the wonder that lies behind the stream of traffic in the Old Town. 

A change of road surface helps indicate a different zone/traffic calming. 

Current view below:

Aspirational image:

Key features

West Street

Illustration 3 of 6

Aspirational image:

West Street is the main retail area of Old Town. The current two-way vehicle access and anti-social on-pavement parking, whilst convenient for some, is detrimental to the huge untapped potential West Street has, for the many to enjoy. Removing pavements for a more homogenous surface helps slow traffic, gives cleaner lines and removes the cost of kerb repairs. 

Current view below:

Key features

The Grange to Old Town

Illustration 4 of 6

The route from the Grange Car Park to Old Town is well-used by locals, but not at all clear to visitors. The area to the side of the Leisure Centre currently serves no particular purpose, but could be transformed with re-greening and the introduction of signs and artwork that invite and direct pedestrians to the Old Town and Mint Market. 

Current view below:

Aspirational image:

Key features

North Street

Illustration 5 of 6

Aspirational image:

North Street is saturated with vehicles and much of its appeal has been lost because of this. Currently loading-bays are used as parking spaces which creates huge issues for businesses and congestion. Reduced parking, retained loading bays and greening could help transform the street and make it a more desirable destination all year round. 

Current view below:

Key features

North Street, car park

Illustration 6 of 6

As a key gateway to the town with visitors arriving by bus, car and bike this car park doesn’t really provide any sense of arrival, welcome or information. The combination of significant greening, a clear, inviting path to North Street and the use of corten steel to unify sign materials could enable all of this. 

Current view below:

Aspirational image:

Key features

FAQs

Section 5 of 5

If everyone starts parking in North Street car park won’t it get full?

It is planned to direct as many visitors as possible to The Grange car park which currently has 2 hours free parking. That is the closest to Old Town and just over 5 minutes walk to North Street. Car park capacity will continue to be monitored and solutions sought if necessary. 

What happens if I just want to pop into Austen’s/Tesco’s/Boots?

North Street is currently so busy that it is often impossible to find a space on the street. There will still be limited parking, but using a car park should become the new habit and is proven to increase time/spend in towns. This will require a change in current behaviour, but once established the benefits should be significant. 

You’ve proposed a lot of new planting – who’s going to look after it and won’t it suffer in the hotter summers we’re getting?

Any new planting is planned to be as low maintenance as possible with the plants/trees selected for some drought tolerance. Responsibilities will have to be agreed, but it is hoped in this time of rapid climate change, there will be funding for green schemes which help combat air pollution, mitigate higher temperatures in town and city centres and reduce local flooding from more heavy rainfall events. 

Why aren’t you looking at addressing the traffic congestion in Midhurst?

It is impossible to make significant improvements to this without a bypass, which, if at all possible would take decades. However, changes to on-street parking and loading bays will go some way to reduce congestion and could happen in 3-5 years. 

Won’t the businesses suffer if you reduce on-street parking?

Despite the convenience of parking on North Street and West Street, it contributes towards congestion, increases air pollution levels, blocks pavements and shop fronts as well as impacting hugely on the ‘street scene’ and pedestrian/cycling experience. 

Midhurst needs to attract visitors as well as locals to support businesses all year round. To do this, it needs to look really attractive and provide an enjoyable experience, in a pleasant environment, where people want to spend time. 

I have a Blue Badge what will I do?

There will still be some disabled parking on North Street and disabled bays on Grange Road on the corner of West Street to accommodate this.