Burgess Hill residents ‘fed up with town centre redevelopment delay’

An artists impression of The Martlets redevelopment in Burgess Hill. Picture supplied by NewRiver
An artists impression of The Martlets redevelopment in Burgess Hill. Picture supplied by NewRiver

Burgess Hill residents are becoming ‘increasingly fed up’ with the town centre redevelopment, according to the Mid Sussex Lib Dems.

Robert Eggleston, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Mid Sussex, says residents are ‘demanding answers and action’ because of the ‘slow pace of change in the town centre’.

Mid Sussex Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Robert Eggleston

Mid Sussex Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Robert Eggleston

He told the Middy: “Both NewRiver and Mid Sussex District Council promised that major work on the town centre would start in the summer last year.

“Other than the work on the temporary library, nothing has happened and as shops have emptied we have been caught in a downward spiral.

“Despite unsubstantiated claims of lively trading, the truth is that footfall in our town centre shops is down 18 per cent compared to 2016.

“This is, in no part, due to the fact that so much of the shopping centre is boarded up as NewRiver rushed to squeeze out loyal, Burgess Hill based, traders.”

Mr Eggleston said he has written to NewRiver, challenging them to give a detailed update on the development plans, but he said he has not received a response.

“The disregard for the town and its residents must stop,” he said, adding: “And it is now more important than ever, that NewRiver and Mid Sussex come clean and provide the town with a new timetable for the redevelopment which they can stick to and in which residents can have confidence.

“New River must come to the town and face residents at a public meeting and the sooner they do it the better.

“It is about time we had openness and transparency from them and Mid Sussex District Council so we can properly understand when this development will be started and finished and crucially what it includes.

“I have written to the CEO of NewRiver asking for some suitable dates.”

NewRiver announced this week that it was in advanced discussions with Hollywood Bowl about accommodating a 16-lane bowling alley as part of the town centre redevelopment.

Read our story here: ‘Delight’ as Hollywood Bowl may join Burgess Hill town centre development

A spokesman for NewRiver said: “NewRiver has been progressing plans for its re-development of Burgess Hill town centre and remain committed to helping regenerate the town, to deliver a vision that incorporates a blend of leisure attractions, community uses and facilities, alongside the town centre retail and restaurants.

“This week, we have confirmed that advanced discussions are taking place with Hollywood Bowl, the UK’s best ten pin bowling alley experience, to bring an exciting 16 lane bowling alley to form part of the new town centre development. “We look forward to sharing further information with the local community in due course.”