District Council needs to wake up to plight of Burgess Hill town centre

The Conservatives on Mid Sussex District Council may finally be waking up to the fact that New River Retail are in no hurry to deliver the much promised redevelopment of the town centre, at Monday’s Cabinet meeting they agreed to spend £99k on an “urban park” to provide a temporary public space on the site of the Martlets Hall. Yet the Martlets Hall itself was demolished by the District Council to supposedly facilitate the redevelopment of the wider site by New River Retail. The District Council also supported the move out of the town centre by Lidl to make way for the redevelopment. Yet years later both moves have had a negative impact on the town centre with no prospect of the promised redevelopment. A temporary urban park is welcome if done properly to make that area of town more attractive, but is not the answer to improving the town centre, and is likely to be in place much longer than the suggested six to twelve months.

Burgess Hill Town Council had in any case previously submitted a proposal to provide some facilities on the same site for less than half that cost, and these would already be in place if the Conservatives had accepted the proposals that were submitted to it last year. However, the real issue is the lack of progress on the redevelopment, the District Council as landowner has not sufficiently asserted it authority to get the redevelopment done. That will take a lot more than funding a temporary urban park to sort out if the District Council is serious about supporting the town centre.

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