Council to lease land for new Burgess Hill church

Artist's impressin of a proposed new home for Sheddingdean Baptist Church (photo from MSDC's planning portal).
Artist's impressin of a proposed new home for Sheddingdean Baptist Church (photo from MSDC's planning portal).

Plans for a new church in Burgess Hill could move one step closer to fruition if a lease on the land is agreed.

Sheddingdean Baptist Church is looking to build a permanent home off Maple Drive next to Burgess Hill Town Football Club.

Currently the church operates from both Sheddingdean Community Centre and Sheddingdean Primary School.

But it is seeking its own space to allow it to increase services and activities without affecting other users of the community centre.

The church submitted a planning application to Mid Sussex District Council in 2014, which is currently pending a decision.

In order to deliver the project the church would also need to negotiate a lease on the land with the council.

The district council’s cabinet is set to agree to enter into a lease for the land when it meets next Tuesday (September 5).

According to an officers’ report: “The grant of the lease supports the council’s vision for a better and safer Mid Sussex by enabling the church to enhance the regeneration of waste land at Maple Drive through the development of a church and community facility.”

Part of the proposed site for the new church is used by the football club on match days as overspill car parking to relieve pressure on the surrounding roads.

Although the council can discontinue this use, officers explained how permanently removing these rights would likely cause previous parking issues to re-emerge.

They added: “It is understood that the church are willing to accommodate the club on match days and it is proposed that the proposed lease be granted subject to the rights of the club and that the rights are merely suspended during construction to minimise the impact.”

The cabinet report states that the church is looking to start a marketing and media campaign to apply for grant funding and loans to deliver its new home.

Most funding agreements require the applicant to have a legal interest in the land.