‘Confidence boost’ for town and retail plans revealed

Mayor Sujan Wickremaratchi alongside town clerk Steve Trice and councillors on Monday (April 24)
Mayor Sujan Wickremaratchi alongside town clerk Steve Trice and councillors on Monday (April 24)

A plan to turn Haywards Heath into a retail destination people want to return to ‘again and again’ was among the issues discussed at the Annual Town Meeting.

Many heartwarming thanks went to the mayor of Haywards Heath, councillor Sujan Wickremaratchi, who will be stepping down on May 15.

Members of the public at the meeting on Monday

Members of the public at the meeting on Monday

He officially opened the meeting on Monday at the Town Hall in Boltro Road.

A resident said the town should feel ‘extremely proud’.

He said: “If we were from the north we would say, the lad did good!”

The mayor said he felt ‘honoured and privileged’ to have had the title for the past two years.

Residents at the meeting

Residents at the meeting

Town clerk Steve Trice spoke about the town’s new community warden.

He said: “This a unique project in Haywards Heath and although the town has a low level of crime – it is about a confidence boost and working with the community.

“A number of thefts have already been caught and homelessness. It is a really positive step we have taken and is a great thing for the town. I hope you agree we are trying to find new ways of working in the current climate.”

Resident David Waite questioned how the town council was going to tackle empty shops after Councillor Alastair McPherson revealed the council’s priorities for the year in its new The Art of the Possible scheme.

Mr McPherson said the plan was to ‘turn Haywards Heath into a retail destination’.

He added: “We want people to want to return again and again.”

Resident Tony Power asked for an update on the ‘disgraceful pigeon-infested’ railway bridge.

He said: “There is no other pedestrian route other than this utter disgrace of a bridge.”

Councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards agreed with Mr Power and said the bridge was an ‘embarrassment’ and the council was ‘on the case’ with Network Rail.

Another resident called the bridge a ‘disgrace and an eyesore in the town’.

A presentation was given by Trish Harrison and her colleague from Mid Sussex Integrated Prevention and Earliest Help Service – a new hub to support families in need.

She said: “We want to be the voice for children and families.”

Councillor Sandy Ellis praised the new hub and said it would be ‘very welcomed in the town’.

What do you think? Email: middy.news@jpress.co.uk

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