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kathryn hall mid sussex district councilCouncil Chief Fails To Reveal Martlets Hall Future - Claims People Just Have 'Affection' For The Building. Fails To Realise How Essential It Is.
5th February 2015
by Peter Chapman

Today, Burgess Hill Uncovered have seen a copy of an email sent by Mid Sussex District Council Chief Executive Kathryn Hall to Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames.

It was in response to a request from one of his constituents to know what's happening to the Martlets Hall should NewRiver Retail press ahead with their plans to redevelopment the Martlets Shopping Centre.

Kathryn's reponse has alarm bells ringing here at BHU for she referenced that the public have 'affection' for the Martlets Hall, yet completely fails to acknowledge that the venue is essential to community life here in the town. There's no mention of keeping the existing hall or to have a replacement.

As a result, an email has been sent to MSDC leader Garry Wall. It reads as follows:

Dear Mr Wall

I have just been sent a copy of an email sent from Kathryn Hall to Nicholas Soames. It was in response to a request from a local resident for Soames to enquire as to what Mid Sussex District Council plan to do with regards to the future of the Martlets Hall in Burgess Hill town centre.

I was most alarmed to see that Kathryn Hall seems to think it's about the 'affection' that the local residents have for the hall.  That's not the main issue at all. It's about the Martlets Hall being an ESSENTIAL part of our community for all the events that are held there. No wonder MSDC won't come out and say they have a contingency plan in place - if they give the building to NewRiver Retail - when the thought process is just that the public are fond of the Martlets Hall.  The lack of an honest response is NOT on.

So again, I ask you,  IF Mid Sussex District Council give the Martlets Hall to NewRiver Retail (as documented in paperwork that you are prepared to do) then what is the council's plan for a replacement?  I won't accept that you'll worry about it IF it happens. A good council would already have a plan in place for such an eventuality.  The word going round is that your councillors think the town can make do by using smaller, inadequate venues.  So please, what is the plan?

It's getting to a point now that if you fail to release information, members of the public will take action, and we're not talking about a series of angry emails.

I look forward to your timely response.

Peter Chapman
Burgess Hill Uncovered

Here's how we think it'll pan out....

The local council elections are in May. NewRiver Retail won't formally submit a planning application until after this date. Until this time, Mid Sussex District Council will keep tight-lipped and say there's nothing to worry about regarding the Martlets Hall and that no decision has been made regarding its future.

At the ballot box, the less-informed members of the public will vote for the same old faces and then...... BAM! We'll get the announcement that the Martlets Hall is being given away for retail development and that the council won't be providing a replacement venue. You'd have to be extremely naive to think that this won't happen.

Already NewRiver Retail have come out and made a new statement, saying they hope to start development by the end of the year, yet last October, they said they hoped to start building in the Spring with their application being submitted by the end of December 2014. It's all fitting in around the election folks.

It's time for action.

And finally...
Do you know how many councillors from the ruling party have made contact with Burgess Hill Uncovered, saying that they'll ensure the Martlets Hall is either kept or replaced? NONE

Spread the news that the council are deliberately staying silent on the future of the Martlets Hall for election purposes.....

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below....
Why do you think the council are staying tight-lipped? Are these just dealying tactics until the elections are out the way for them to then bring on the pain?

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