Shopkeepers and business owners are pushing forward with ideas and plans to bring Haywards Heath into the 21st century.
Together under the umbrella of the recently formed Haywards Heath Town Team they are formulating numerous schemes to breath life back into the town.
Their aim is to keep customers in the locality to spend their money rather than see them continue to drift to Crawley, Brighton and elsewhere.
One of the most tangible ideas is the Haywards Heath Loyalty Card, which is designed to reward people for shopping locally.
The card has been signed up to by more than 20 local businesses, mostly independents, so far with 10 per cent discounts on offer for purchases made in Haywards Heath.
The card is being sponsored by the town’s Birch Hotel.
More news was also given about the redesign and modernisation of shop fronts in the Orchards Shopping Centre. The £7.5m initial stage is now expected to start next spring, by April at the latest, according to manager Nicola Bird.
At a Haywards Heath Town Team meeting last night (Thursday) Nicola revealed that a vacant shop unit had just been let to Phones4U while offers were on the table from two fashion retails for the former New Look unit.
Another idea that was aired for the first time was the possibility of bringing an ice rink to Victoria Park for a month next Christmas, 2014. The HHTT appealed for a sponsor to make the attraction a reality.
Other areas talked about at the Town Hall meeting were the Burrell Road industrial estate, which is going to be renamed the Burrell Road Business Park to better reflect the nature of the companies there including the Nuffield Health private hospital.
Plans were revealed for lampposts to be replaced and Christmas lights to be installed in The Broadway ‘village’; new signage for the Mill Green Business Park; changes to parking limits in The Broadway and Perrymount Road and ideas for new ways to link the different areas of the town, including integrated transport and the possibility of a shuttle bus service.
HHTT chairman Ruth de Mierre thanked all the businesses, shops and other contributors who were working to help make the town a thriving commercial success.
She said: “We need your ideas, your energy and your talents because the Town Team is all about you and your town.
“Our objective is to have a bit of fun and to help our town develop economically so that we can stop, in some small way, the out-communitng to shop elsewhere.”
More details about developments in Haywards Heath and the Haywards Heath Loyalty Card are avaliable on the Haywards Heath Town Team website.
More on this story in next week’s Mid Sussex Times on Thursday October 24.