Tough decisions made to save the taxpayer from having to fork out more
In response to Phil Dennett’s letter of last week.
Phil was a highly respected journalist on the Middy for many years.
His letter regarding the Martlets Hall was well made and obviously it has caused concern to many people.
My fellow councillors and I spent two years involved in negotiations with Mid Sussex District Council and New River Retail, who are a commercial company subject to commercial pressures, investing at their own risk.
Matters finally come to a head, a decision had to be made.
Either, retain the Martlets Hall, underused and costing the taxpayer 100k per year to subsidise, keep a crumbling car park which would cost close to a million pounds to restore, keep the gas holder, old library and shops no longer fit for purpose. Or...
Have a new library, no gas holder but a new Lidl’s superstore, Cine World, Hollywood bowl (this did come in later), a much needed hotel and the offer of new retail units and restaurants. Evidence of the value of modern premises is shown by the success of Iceland in its beautiful new store.
Burgess Hill Town Council did state it would build a new Community/Arts facility in the Cultural Quarter. It purchased the old Royal British Legion building for this purpose.
Following two years’ hard work plans are ready to go, all costed and approved by the main user groups and with cross party support.
All at NO extra cost to the taxpayer.
Delivery of the town centre has been slow and frustrating, but investors are working in a very challenging period.
Burgess Hill is the only town in the area to have a brand new library and this level of investment in its town centre.