Following last week’s fire in The Angel Inn and neighbouring buildings in Midhurst, the majority of businesses along North Street which were not directly impacted by the fire have now re-opened and are fully accessible for pedestrians.
All carparks remain open and fully accessible to those wishing to visit the town centre with Chichester District Council offering free parking in all Midhurst carparks until the end of 16 April to support local business and residents.
The A286 North Street remains closed to vehicles to ensure public safety as the buildings are unsafe. All emergency service partners are aware of the closure and have plans in place to ensure that they are able to respond to an emergency incident.
A number of agencies met with the various representatives acting for the owners of the buildings on Thursday 23 March, including a Structural Engineer. We are now waiting for the report to come back from the Structural Engineer so that a decision on the most appropriate course of action can be taken. An update will be issued as soon as it is possible to do so.
A diversion has been organised with related signage at key locations. We are aware that local road users and those following Sat Nav may not be using the official diversion route, unfortunately this is unavoidable as they are entitled to use public highways.
To ease congestion, a temporary one-way restriction and diversion route will be placed at the junction of Eastshaw Lane and Brambling Lane. The restriction, which will prevent vehicles from entering Eastshaw Lane and travelling Eastbound along Hollist Lane, will be picked up by Google Maps and Sat Navs which should result in fewer motorists attempting to use this as an alternative diversion route.
We will monitor the success of this temporary restriction through site visits and public feedback and will make amendments if needed.
We are aware that local roads are seeing significantly higher volumes of traffic than usual due to the diversion. We are increasing our targeted inspections and we are also regularly reviewing works in the area to reduce disruption as much as possible. We will try and be as sympathetic as possible with any essential traffic management to make the roads safe, however the current conditions are very challenging and the roads must be safe for the public. We will look at larger repairs / schemes once the main road is open again.
We will continue to keep businesses and residents closely updated on this.