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Bugress Hill Closed ShopsHave Mid Sussex District Council Failed To Spot
The Demise Of The Martlets?

21st May 2014

The revitalisation of Burgess Hill Town Centre has been identified by Mid Sussex District Council as one of their top 5 'strategic risks for 2014/15. However, judging by their criteria it seems like this project failed long ago and they just won't admit it.

Regular readers to Burgess Hill Uncovered will be aware that investment group NewRiver Retail are the owners of the Martlets shopping area of Burgess Hill town centre. You know the place, the one that can boast a portfolio of 14 empty retail units - more than a 50% share of the total for the entire town centre.

For years now we've been hearing that they have grand plans for the Martlets, as time passes the plans have become more and more scaled back and news from NewRiver HQ has gone very quiet.

As recent as March, NewRiver retail put out a report to their investors that appeared to mention all their portfolio locations apart from Burgess Hill!

What Have The District Council Got Planned?

For 2014/15, MSDC have written: 'We will pursue agreement of a development agreement with NewRiver for an improvement project to the Martlets shopping centre and multi storey car park in Burgess Hill. The establishment of a steering group to co - ordinate the efforts and views of the Burgess Hill Town Council and the District Council is assisting in this regard'

That'll be the agreement they've been trying to pursue for a good few years then and got nowhere.

Mid Sussex Distirct Council's Strategic Risk Report says unless a development agreement can be reached then the following issues could occur....

In 2014/15:

  1. If projects are not delivered, the Council may be viewed as performing poorly in relation to its commitment to encourage and assist in regeneration of our town centres
  2. Business and community support for projects declines
  3. Community continues to take a substantial element of their spending out of the district
  4. Our partners lose confidence in our ability to improve our town centres
  5. Inward investment is not secured

In The Future:

  1. The ability of the Council to improve its town centre income streams is diminished and the present income threatened
  2. Lack of investment in community assets located in the town centres and increasing maintenance costs of those assets
  3. Declining public realm
  4. Increased competition from neighbouring town and city centres, particularly if other towns achieve improvements and Mid Sussex towns do not keep up.

Of the 9 knock-on effects of the council failing to reach an agreeement with NewRiver Retail, how many do you think have actually happened or are happening right now? We think at least 7.

Nothing To Fear!
But don't worry readers, for we have a great cabinet member taking care of this portfolio, His name is Gary Marsh. If you recognise that name, then that's probably because you'll recall he was the councillor who was removed from being the cabinet member for Planning and Regeneration due to the District Plan completely collapsing, leaving the area totally vulnerable to unplanned housing developments. Brilliant!

You can download the council's full report here

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Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
Do you think the Martlets is struggling more than the District Council realise, or is it a case of them knowing full well and just not wanting to admit it? When do you think an announcement will be made - if ever - about what's happening to the Martlets? How about April 2015, a month before the local elections? Don't rule it out!

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