A major redevelopment of key public sector buildings in Burgess Hill including the town’s fire and police stations is being proposed.
Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) is the lead authority for the project, which received £40,000 of Government funding from the One Public Estate (OPE) programme earlier this year to carry out feasibility studies.
The site, which is in a number of ownerships, includes The Brow GP practice, as well as the fire, ambulance, and police stations.
The proposed scheme would see the creation of a combined blue-light centre at The Brow, freeing up space for residential development and a re-provided doctors’ surgery.
This follows work by the district council and the Homes and Communities Agency to explore development options for the site.
The project is hoped to be completed by 2021, according to West Sussex County Council, which has included it in its latest five-year capital programme.
Jonathan Ash-Edwards, MSDC’s cabinet member for resources and economic growth, said: “Burgess Hill is a well-connected, attractive place to live that will see significant growth and investment over the next 15 years for the benefit of existing and new residents and businesses.
“Our proposed improvements at The Brow are an important part of the town’s development.
“Bringing the police, fire brigade and ambulance into one location will improve the efficiency of these vital public services, support the delivery of a purpose-built GP surgery and free up space for much needed homes on a brownfield site in the centre of town, close to local shops and amenities.”
Karen Eastman, GP partner at The Brow Surgery, added: “The Brow Surgery are meeting with the Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group and Mid Sussex District Council to progress discussions on a potential new build for our Surgery on The Brow.
“Our Patient Participation Group will remain involved as this hopefully moves forward to ensure we shape this to our patients’ needs and avoid disruption to the care we offer.”
The OPE programme aims to support public sector partnerships maximise the use and value of their assets.
Sussex Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) are the other two partners involved in the project.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Burgess Hill Police Station is being considered for re-provision, in line with our estates strategy 2013-2018.
“We have been working with partners including West Sussex County Council, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. South East Coast Ambulance Service and Mid Sussex District Council, in order to bring about potential benefits to us and wider partners.
“Sussex Police will ensure that the facilities and services currently offered from Burgess Hill Police Station will continue to be offered from any new premises, with the added benefit of enhancing our collaborated work with Blue Light partners.
“We will also ensure that no service is withdrawn from the police station until a new provision is in place.”
A spokesman for SECamb added:” South East Coast Ambulance Service has been working with Mid Sussex District Council on the plans to regenerate the Brow, the location of Burgess Hill ambulance station.
“Our intention is that an Ambulance Community Response Post (ACRP) will be part of these plans. We are keen to work collaboratively with other public sector partners to improve services wherever possible.
“The plans are part of the Trust’s ongoing work to move all of its estate to the ‘Make Ready’ system - a vehicle preparation system which sees specialist teams of staff employed to clean, restock and maintain vehicles meaning staff, who previously undertook these tasks, can spend more time treating patients.
“ACRP as it provides suitable rest facilities for staff to use for short periods during their shift between emergency calls. Emergency cover to the area would be unchanged.”
Redevelopment at The Brow would another major project for Burgess Hill, as £65m is due to be invested in the regeneration of the Martlets Shopping Centre.
New River Retail has planning permission to build a new cinema, hotel, flats, retail and restaurant units, and a replacement library, alongside improvements to the area’s public realm.
Plans for a replacement of the Martlets Hall, which is set to be demolished, were discussed last week.
What do you think of the proposals? Email the newsdesk.