Last week the council gave an ‘exclusive’ about the Burgess Hill redevelopment programme.
It claimed an investment of £1bn, but sounded more like a sales pitch looking for investors.
The plan includes the development of 5,000 houses, but the Tories’ failure to adopt a District Plan means we have lost millions in developer contributions.
This then gives an effective sweetener discount to the developers. Some sweet!
The sales pitch glosses over some inherent problems:
- we are building pitifully few truly affordable homes or social housing for those who need care or cannot afford the high rents;
- the loss of the developer contributions means we are going to get short changed on public investment;
- already overstretched health services, social services and schools will struggle to cope even further;
- we are told that the road into Burgess Hill will be ‘dualled’: this is great news, but the roads out of the town are already over-congested, and this will make the through traffic worse;
- parking facilities in the town are already stretched: the new centre needs more parking spaces, many more if the 10 screen cinema is to become viable, but the current plan actually reduces the parking spaces - just more cheese paring.
So I hope the council has budgeted for a magic wand in their programme plans – to solve these problems they will certainly need one.
Keymer Road, Burgess Hill