I’d just like to express my feelings over the Burgess Hill redevelopment plans which have featured in the Middy and many other local newspapers over the recent months.
I work for Places For People at the Martlets Hall on a casual basis and firstly I’d like to say I think it is very unprofessional for employees to find out in the local press that the venues they work at face the possibility of closure, both Places For People and the Mid Sussex council should be ashamed and embarrassed by the way they’ve communicated this to staff.
I fully appreciate the Martlets/Lidl part of the town centre is looking rather old and dilapidated in places and could do with a new lease of life.
However personally I feel the plans presented by the developers are totally over the top and I see little benefit to the town.
Do we really need a new hotel when we have the Hickstead, Travelodge and Premier Inn in the local area?
I certainly don’t think we need an eight screen cinema and to say that this could coexist with the historic Orion is ridiculous, a new cinema would kill the Orion and destroy another part of Burgess Hill’s history.
I don’t even see how an 8 screen cinema would generate enough business to be viable, whose going to use an 8 screen cinema during the day and in term time and even in the evenings would you get enough customers from just the local surroundings to make it pay?
People go to Brighton and Crawley not just for the Cinema but because they have the shops, bowling and a variety of places to dine.
From what I can see the plans would turn the Town in to what someone else has already called “a mini Crawley” and it would lack any character.
Burgess Hill is not Crawley or Brighton and cannot compete with them, yes it would be great to get a few more bigger shops but lets be realistic, we won’t get people from Brighton or Crawley coming to Burgess Hill to shop so we shouldn’t have huge development plans.
I also understand the plan would see the roof come off the market place shopping centre, this gives shoppers a place to go when it rains plus if all the shops were open air I only see that as a reason to discourage shoppers especially in the winter.
I work at the Martlets Hall and I see first hand the benefit this venue brings to the local and wider community, it provides a meeting place for church groups, theatre groups, fundraisers, it offers shows on your doorstep and provides services for Businesses.
Where would the much loved local pantomime go?
The venue itself is vital to the community and the loss would be felt among many groups and users.
It has suffered from years of underinvestment, why can’t the council/Places For People invest in the building and update it.
I just feel we should invest in what we have and not rip the heart out of our community.