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19/02/2018 – Press Release – New Community Arts Centre for Burgess Hill

Burgess Hill Labour Party urges Burgess Hill residents to support the provision of an Entertainment/Arts Centre in Burgess Hill in Burgess Hill Town Council's current consultation.

Like many Burgess Hill residents, we know the community deserves to have a high quality live Entertainment/Arts Centre if we are to have a vibrant town. However, we remain highly critical of the Conservative-led Mid Sussex District Council's actions that have led to Burgess Hill Town Council having to make provision for the Entertainment/Arts centre.

Chair of the Labour Party Branch, David Andrews said.

“The realistic choice is to agree to pay the £1 per household a month or to have no centre where we can have popular entertainment mixed with an opportunity for our young people to experience art, theatre, music, dance etc.

We fully share the anger of many in the Community that the Martlets Hall has been given to New River despite a 6,500 petition and without any requirement to contribute towards a replacement. Negotiation by the District Council seems to have consisted of giving New River everything they asked for. The Martlets Hall, no affordable housing in the new flats, no money for infrastructure improvements, no public toilets, inadequate parking etc. We note that New River have already agreed to sell the flats to a Property Company for £34million. We also condemn the decision of the District Council to offer no financial help towards a new facility despite requiring Burgess Hill to take a large number of new homes which will provide income for the District. Presumably they still intend to keep Clare Hall as a centre for Haywards Heath.

To make matters worse the voting system being undertaken is an absolute shambles. Residents not receiving the flyer, information given to some but not others about the opportunity to vote online, a total lack of security etc. Whatever the result many will cry foul over the process.

We also urge the setting up of a high-powered fund raising organisation to involve the business community, developers, residents, town events, applications for grants etc. Success with this could help reduce the Council Tax contribution for future years.

Finally, we must insist on the centre being owned by and run for the residents of Burgess Hill”

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