Work begins on new leisure centre and library development in Midhurst

Construction work will begin next week on a new Midhurst Community and Leisure Centre and Library Development at the Grange car park site in Midhurst.

The project took a big step closer with the signing of all the necessary legal agreements by all partners.

Chichester District Council has selected the Leadbitter Group as its preferred main contractor and it is anticipated that building work will begin on Monday September 3.

The whole process, led by the district council with partnership funding from West Sussex County Council and a grant from The Monument Trust, will take about 19 months with the new facilities being completed in spring 2014.

Councillor Eileen Lintill, the council’s cabinet member for leisure, wellbeing and community services, said: “It may have appeared we’d gone quiet about the centre over the past few months, but a huge amount of work has been going on behind the scenes. Projects such as this are never straight forward. We have been making sure that everything is in place, ready for the work to start. People will now see things moving forward!

“We’re making a start on the ground works and over the coming months everyone will be able to see the building start to take shape. These are really exciting times for Midhurst, Petworth and the surrounding villages and we’re excited to be creating a first class facility, for everyone to enjoy.”

Unfortunately, says the council, due to the scale of the project, there will be some disruption to car parking in The Grange car park during construction. Provision for alternative coach parking has been arranged and the council is also exploring the provision of new temporary car parking spaces.

Once the development has been completed, there will be an additional 72 car parking spaces.

The new Midhurst Community and Leisure Centre and Library Development will offer residents and visitors access to a number of services in one location, together with extended opening hours.

The new centre is to replace the Grange Centre, which needs rebuilding or major repair work and is not fully accessible to people with disabilities.

The scheme has been designed to include:

l a multi-purpose four-court sports hall to meet Sport England standards.

l a fitness room, which will include the very latest fitness equipment, similar to Westgate Leisure Chichester and Bourne.

l two squash courts and a squash viewing area.

l dance studio with mirrors. The room will be used for fitness, dance or community activities.

l a library. This will include a children’s area, a computer area and an enquiry point.

l male and female changing facilities.

l a multi-purpose community hall.

l community rooms. The rooms will be used as community meeting areas or for other activities during the day, in the evenings and at weekends.

l health suite. This may include a sauna, steam room, and relaxation area. There will also be treatment rooms.

l a bar and café with internet access. The facility will overlook South Pond, with seating in and outside of the centre. This will offer food and both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.

l offices to accommodate leisure and building control staff. Building control staff, currently located in North Street, will be moved into the centre.

l a registrar office. Where you can register births and deaths.