LETTER: What is gain?

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You reported the ‘milestone’ development in Burgess Hill, in which the Martlets Hall will be sacrificed without a replacement. I understand that this is a £70 million building plan.

What you haven’t told us is what the ‘planning gain’ will be. Planning gain is a device by which the developer pays the local authority a negotiated sum to enable the plan to go ahead. What, exactly, was the planning gain in this deal?

David Hurry

High Street, Hurstpierpoint

Claire Tester, MSDC Head of Economic Promotion and Planning said:“NewRiver Retail is set to invest £65 million in Burgess Hill, transforming the town centre into an attractive, modern, retail and leisure destination.

“In the current economic climate it’s rare for a town centre to attract a private sector investment on this scale. The proposed scheme represents a significant financial outlay for the developer and, put simply, this project would not be affordable if further Section 106 payments were imposed on top.

“The planning gain in this case is the town centre regeneration itself, which will benefit the whole of Burgess Hill and the wider community.

“A modern shopping environment with larger shop units will attract the big name fashion retailers that are currently under represented in the town, providing a wider range of shops, attracting more people into the town and enabling the town to thrive once more.

“The people of Burgess Hill deserve a town centre where they can shop, relax and enjoy their spare time. By improving shops, opening new restaurants, cafes and creating a new multiplex cinema, this project will make Burgess Hill a much more attractive place to visit both in the daytime and in the

evenings.”

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