Around 150 residents met last night to discuss how they can fight an imminent plan to demolish Martlets Hall, Burgess Hill, without a replacement being built first.
The public meeting was called in response to NewRiver Retail’s plan to knock down the venue as part of their regeneration of the town centre.
The planning application, which residents expect to see go to district council imminently, do not include re-provision of the Martlets Hall.
NewRiver has said it is instead seeking to provide ‘excellent new community facilities’ to include a modern purpose-built library along with meeting and activity space for use by local groups and voluntary organisations.
But residents want to see a new provision made before it is knocked down which meets the needs of the community.
Peter Mitchell, who called the meeting at the hall last night, said residents will form a working campaign group next week and they will lead efforts to fight the plans.
“We want a community centre in the middle of the town,” he said. “Not in the nether regions of Burgess Hill which no-one can get to.
“It’s got to have all the facilities the hall has for theatre performances, gigs, and all the other shows which are currently provided at the Martlets.”
The aims of the Save the Martlets Hall campaign are to:
1. Resist the closure and demolition of the Martlets Hall unless a like-for-like public venue is built and equipped first;
2. Ensure the continued and uninterrupted provision of live arts, commercial entertainment, cultural events and community activity in a public venue in Burgess Hill;
3. Publicly support and promote the Martlets Hall as a venue and demonstrate its value to the town, wider community and region;
4. Campaign for greater transparency from the elected authorities about the future of the Martlets Hall;
5. To secure a binding undertaking from MSDC and BHTC that the Martlets Hall will not be demolished without a like-for-like public replacement being provided and for interested parties to be involved in the scope of any such redevelopment.
For more information visit www.savemartletshall.org to download petition forms and posters.