Work continues to help Midhurst recover from major fire
A multi-agency recovery group has today (Thursday 6 April) issued a further 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 affected by the incident.
The South Downs National Park Authority, as the local planning authority for Midhurst, has asked the owners and their structural engineers to shore up the buildings as quickly as possible. Currently, it is estimated that the work may take six weeks from 3 April, but it is hoped that it can be completed quicker than this. Once the buildings have been made secure, it will be possible to open the road to vehicles.
West Sussex County Council Highways team have organised a diversion with related signage at key locations. To ease congestion, temporary one-way restrictions have been put in place on the lanes surrounding Midhurst and other options are currently being considered. The diversion and one-way restrictions are also being monitored and adjusted where needed. Drivers are urged to follow official diversion signage, with more information available on the One Network website. The county council is also aware that local roads are seeing significantly higher volumes of traffic than usual due to the diversion. They are increasing their targeted inspections and repairs and are also regularly reviewing works in the wider area to reduce disruption as much as possible. The team has also been responding to reports of potholes in the area and are encouraging people to report these on the county council report a pothole webpage or by calling 01243 642105.
Chichester District Council has been working closely with local businesses through a recovery group, which involves weekly meetings, updates, and plans on how funding should be spent to support the town in its recovery. Chichester District Council has promised to set aside £300,000 to help the town get back on its feet and encourage residents and visitors to support local businesses in Midhurst. A member of the council's Economic Development team has also been seconded to support businesses in the town for the next two months. The district council is also continuing to offer free parking in its Midhurst car parks until the end of 16 April 2023.
All waste and recycling collections are operating as usual after the council put in plans in place to overcome access issues. The only exception this week, is that changes have had to be made to the collection date for five roads in Midhurst, because the crews are unable to use their access route through Midhurst Rother College on Friday, due to the bank holiday. Instead, the collection date for Lamberts Lane, Orchard Way, Park Crescent, Wyndham Place and Gilbert Hannam Close was moved to Thursday (6 April) morning. Due to unavoidable changes such as this, the council is encouraging residents to download the Chichester District Council app, which provides personalised notifications on waste and recycling collections. Residents are also urged to follow the council's social media pages and latest news webpage where updates are also shared.
Chichester District Council has also arranged two drop-in information sessions for residents and businesses at the South Downs National Park Authority offices. The first one took place on Thursday 6 April and a further one will be held on Wednesday 12 April between 2-4pm. Chichester District Council staff from the Supporting You, Economic Development and Social Prescribing services will be on hand to provide information and help, along with representatives from West Sussex County Council's Highways team and the South Downs National Park Authority.
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 agencies would like to thank residents and businesses for their feedback, which is discussed at a multi-agency group every week to be considered and responded to. The partners will continue to keep both residents and businesses closely updated on the situation.
Date: 6 April 2023