Notable achievements in Haywards Heath in the past year were highlighted by the town mayor at this year’s annual town meeting.
Town mayor Jim Knight told the meeting at the Town Hall in Boltro Road on Monday, March 11, that it had been an ‘incredible journey’ to serve the town as mayor.
He added: “I have met so many diverse communities and some wonderful people and groups. It really has been an honour and privilege and I have had some fun doing it. Thank you all for coming along tonight.”
Some of the achievements noted by Mr Knight included the decline in crime thanks to the hard work of the police and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, who attended the meeting.
He also said it was ‘great news’ that the force was recruiting an additional 250 new police officers in Sussex.
Other achievements highlighted included 16 grants being handed out to groups and voluntary organisations, 97 salt bins being installed and trees being planted in the town.
Mr Knight also spoke of Remembrance Sunday, on November 10, which attracted thousands to the town. “It was an absolutely amazing event and moving service,” he said.
He also paid thanks to Sylvia Harris, who sat in the audience, for her efforts in running a community project to create a river of 10,000 poppies at Muster Green. “It was a fantastic achievement,” he said.
Haywards Heath celebrated being twinned with Traunstein in Germany and Bondues in France this year. The efforts of Irene Balls, chairman of Haywards Heath Twinning Association, who also sat in the audience, were noted by Mr Knight.
Mr Knight also reflected on the success of the Haywards Heath Town Day on September 8, and the hard work in bringing back the Bluebell Railway.
He invited the audience for questions. One resident asked about the future of The Orchards. The resident was reassured by councillor Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Mid Sussex District Council deputy leader, that footfall in the town was ‘good’ and work was being carried out to ensure residents shopped locally in a ‘thriving’ town.
Another resident raised concerns about the car park at Haywards Heath railway station, saying there are never any spaces. Councillors on the panel ensured it was something that they were looking into.