May 2014 marks a new milestone for the historic town of Midhurst and for the National Park Authority as the majority of its staff move into the South Downs Centre at Capron House.
South Downs National Park Authority staff currently distributed across rented office space in five buildings in Petersfield and Midhurst began to move into their new home on Tuesday 6 May 2014. The fully refurbished building, which doubles as a community hub, will officially open to the public on 27 July at a special open day including behind the scenes tours of the building.
Since May 9, visitors have bene able to discover more about the entire National Park and its special qualities via a new exhibition area, open during office hours.
Trevor Beattie, chief executive for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “We’re very proud to be moving into the South Downs Centre this May.
“As well as being a new home for the National Park Authority, the South Downs Centre will include a community hub and an exhibition about the National Park for visitors. We are also in discussions with Chichester District Council to whom we have offered space to operate their Tourist Information work.”
“Based in the north wing of Capron House and the Memorial Hall in Midhurst, the South Downs Centre is helping to preserve two Grade II listed buildings and restore them to the highest possible level of sustainability. This has been a complex undertaking as both buildings were in need of significant repair and upgrading. We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to reach our ambitious target of a BREEAM accreditation of ‘Excellent’ at design stage and our goal that the South Downs Centre should become a beacon of sustainability in the National Park.”
The Community Hub will be managed by Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice Bureau and will start operating in summer 2014. Bookings for the Memorial Hall conference centre will officially open on Sunday June 1.
Because of the sheer size of the National Park, the SDNPA also has an important staff presence at three other sites: Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Stanmer Park and Singleton. Active discussions, in partnership with their owners, are also taking place about the future development of these locations, linked in with the South Downs Centre as the primary hub for the authority.
Report contributed by the South Downs National Park Authority.