Plans for £5m arts venue in town reaches ‘exciting stage’

Residents at a meeting in April which revealed the plans
Residents at a meeting in April which revealed the plans

Plans for a £5million arts venue in Burgess Hill has reached an ‘exciting’ stage.

Councillor Richard Cherry said the proposed development of Burgess Hill’s Cultural Quarter, to replace the Martlets Hall as outlined in the neighbourhood plan, has had ‘strong support’ after studies completed by Burgess Hill Town Council.

Both the studies completed by the town council and the remonstrations of residents make it clear there is strong support for a such a centre in Burgess Hill.

Councillor Richard Cherry

The Martlets Hall is due to be demolished as part of a £65m redevelopment of the town centre.

The council is now inviting the public to have their say about the plans at an open forum on November 23, at St John’s Church.

Councillor Cherry said: “As promised at the last Annual Town Meeting held in April, an action group of community representatives and town council members is getting on with the job of developing the Burgess Hill Cultural Quarter, as outlined in the neighbourhood plan.

“Central to this is the creation of a new, flexible community and performing arts centre. A centre that is fit for the town’s needs in the 21st century and fits with the other venues around the town in providing Burgess Hill with a complete range of sites that are suitable for just about every local need.

“Both the studies completed by the town council and the remonstrations of residents make it clear there is strong support for a such a centre in Burgess Hill.

“At the April Annual Town Meeting, David Clarke, head of DCA Consulting, further demonstrated the desire for a new community arts facility in the town centre. Importantly, he went on to outline the cost of building and sustaining it.

“Following the report from DCA Consulting, a site for the new centre, covering the footprint of the Royal British Legion (RBL) building in Cyprus Road and Cyprus Hall has been identified.

“Whilst the RBL Building would need to be demolished to facilitate the new centre, it is almost certain the Cyprus Hall facility can be maintained intact, enveloped in an exciting new complex.

“Building on the work done by DCA Consulting, the project to develop the new community and performing arts centre now enters a new and exciting stage, one that will confirm how much it will cost, determine its likely internal and external architecture and establish the engineering and technology that will be used to manage the building and make it flexible enough for multiple uses well into the future.”

“To answer these questions the action group has, after a careful selection process, enlisted the professional help of Colliers International, who have an impressive list of achievements in this field, including the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool and Storyhouse in Chester.

“Together with Colliers, to ensure we get things right at this stage, we want to gather as much feedback as we can across Burgess Hill, not just from key potential user groups but from every member of our community in Burgess Hill.

“No matter how old or young you are, please tell us what would you like from a new town centre venue and how would you like to see it delivered.”

The forum will be divided into three sessions; from 11am to 12.30pm, 4.30pm to 6pm and 7.30pm to 9pm. No booking is required.

The sessions will include a presentation followed by opportunities for questions and discussion.

People can also give your views and ideas by emailing NewPerformanceVenue@burgesshill.gov.uk.

As the project progresses, people can keep updated via the town council’s website www.burgesshill.gov.uk/culturalquarter, Facebook and Twitter.