We read with interest your report in last week’s Middy, (10/09/15) on the District Council meeting which approved in principle the New River proposals for the redevelopment of Burgess Hill town centre.
You note that ‘the council’s advisor David Hearn, of Max Associates, told councillors that the Martlets Hall is used up to 30 per cent of the time’.
Yet the Max Associates report which was presented as background evidence to the meeting says that the main hall (the part of the Martlets which is at issue) was actually booked 43 per cent of the time in 2013-14 (see Section 4.3, p11).
If you ignore morning bookings, the average occupancy rate rises to more than 50 per cent (Section 4.8, table). This is much closer to the 65 per cent usage which he told the meeting a ‘viable’ theatre would need to achieve.
Occupancy rate is a crude method of analysis anyway – even if you don’t misrepresent the stats. The town pantomime, staged at the Martlets by Burgess Hill Theatre Club for the last 60 years, attracts an annual audience of 3,000 in just 10 performances.
We would hope and expect that a purpose-built new 500-seat performance venue would easily achieve the suggested occupancy levels.
Richard Light and Jacky Hilary
Midfields Walk, Burgess Hill
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