Multi-agency recovery group issues update following major fire in Midhurst
A multi-agency recovery group has today (Monday 3 April 2023) issued an update following the major hotel fire at The Angel Inn hotel and neighbouring buildings on the A286 North Street in Midhurst.
The group, which includes Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council, West Sussex Fire and Rescue; Midhurst Town Council and the South Downs National Park Authority, are committed to doing everything they can to reopen the road to vehicles as soon as possible and support those businesses and residents affected by the incident. They have stressed that the vast majority of businesses on North Street are 'open for business' and can all be accessed on foot from nearby car parks.
South Downs National Park Authority and Historic England, who need to approve work on listed buildings, have been urgently assessing the report from the building owner's Structural Engineer to develop a clear plan of action.
Although there has been major damage to the buildings, at this stage it is believed it may be possible to save some parts of the buildings, which are listed and have historical significance. There is a legal requirement to save what we can of these buildings.
South Downs National Park Authority has asked the owners to temporarily shore up the buildings and has given permission to remove the chimneys from the Angel Inn, which are at risk of collapse. This is supported by Historic England.
The Structural Engineers working on behalf of the owners of the buildings affected has advised that this work is likely to take around six weeks from now. However, South Downs National Park Authority is urging the owners and insurers to move this forward as quickly as possible, with the hope that it could be completed sooner. It is thought that the timeline will become clearer over the next week and further updates will be provided.
Once the building has been made secure, it will be possible to open the road to vehicles.
Chichester District Council has arranged two drop-in information sessions for residents and businesses in Midhurst. These will take place on Thursday 6 April (10am-12pm) and Wednesday 12 April (2pm-4pm) and will be held at the South Downs National Park Authority offices. Chichester District Council staff from the Supporting You, Economic Development and Social Prescribing services will be on hand to provide information and help.
Chichester District Council has also set up a recovery group with local businesses, which involves meetings, updates, and funding for marketing and promotional purposes to support the town. They are also offering free parking in Chichester District Council car parks in Midhurst until the end of 16 April 2023 and are currently working on other forms of support.
Parking restrictions on-street still apply. People are also being urged not to park in front of the section of North Street that is currently closed, because this is needed for emergency vehicle access.
All of the agencies involved are committed to doing everything they can to get the road reopened to vehicles as soon as possible and helping Midhurst to recover from this dreadful incident. The partners will continue to keep both residents and businesses closely updated on the situation.
Date: 3 April 2023