Midhurst fire update from South Downs National Park Authority (7 June)
Plea for calm after attack at Midhurst fire site
Work has continued apace on the scaffolding to support the façade of the Angel Inn with contractors now working extended days until 7pm.
The seven-week programme (from 15 May) is currently on track.
Unfortunately, we are saddened to report that the contractors, who are working long days to get the work completed as soon as possible, are facing a daily barrage of shouting and abuse from a small section of the public. This has meant that the contractors, who were staying in a local business in Midhurst while doing the work, have now been forced to move to accommodation outside of Midhurst, increasing their travel time and meaning less revenue to local businesses.
Last night there was an attack on the security guard by two members of the public, who we understand used cutters to attempt to enter the compound. The incident resulted in the security guard being taken to hospital for an injury sustained. The incident is now being investigated by Sussex Police. Additional security has been provided, including regular dog patrols.
We continue to be committed to securing the listed buildings as safely and as quickly as possible, which will enable West Sussex County Council to reopen the road. While we fully understand the frustrations felt by the local community and businesses, we cannot ask hard-working contractors to face daily abuse and physical attack. We are therefore making a plea to everyone to let the contractors get on peacefully with the much-needed work.
We will continue to provide weekly updates on progress. Once the work is completed, we will hand over to West Sussex County Council, as the Highways Authority, to reopen the road.
The South Downs National Park Authority has produced FAQs specifically around the shoring up work.
The multi-agency recovery group has created detailed , prepared by Chichester District Council, which include information about business support and highways issues.
Date of Release: 7 June 2023