I have read the article in last Thursday’s Mid Sussex Times regarding a proposed restaurant development in Victoria Park with great interest and would like to respond as a long standing local resident of the area.
I note that there has already been some interest in the site from potential restaurant users. May I please make the following points.
1. As we know there are a large number of existing restaurants and fast food operators within the town, particularly close by in the Broadway. Unless an existing restaurant operator is looking to move to Victoria Park, a new operator from outside Haywards Heath will dilute trade away from existing and established restaurant outlets in the town. To what extent could existing
businesses be disadvantaged with a new scheme in Victoria Park?
2. If we are looking at the possibility of a suitable quality style restaurant in Victoria Park and its future viability, it should be looked at in reference to the existing commercial activity in the town. In this regard looking to improve the commercial vibrancy of the town with less vacant office buildings and improving the retail element along South Road in the light of commercial activity that will shortly be taking place near the Station. This area of the town needs to attract people to eat and shop.
3. The layout of such a proposed restaurant building is vital. In this regard a restaurant at this location should not be built ‘on spec’ but it is suggested a building lease be duly entered into with the leaseholder (ie the new restaurant operator) who can propose and design a suitable building themselves subject to planning consent and building regulation approval and in particular providing a suitable aesthetic appreciation of the immediate surrounding area. The building lease would effectively be a ground lease of say one hundred and twenty five years duration at a ground rent subject to suitable rent review provision during the lease term.
4. Suitable service access for vehicles to the new restaurant needs to be carefully considered.
5. Car parking provision should be carefully considered either by way of maintaining existing local sites such as the car park in Haywards Road adjacent to Iceland with a designated footpath access to the restaurant being considered or by way of a new car park in Victoria Park accessed
from South Road.
6. Such building and layout provisions need to be carefully balanced with the continuing
maintenance of the existing facilities of Victoria Park.
7. Traffic and pedestrian flow along South Road should not be impaired.