District Council Filtering Off Burgess Hill's Formal Sport Money To Hurstpierpoint!!!!!
19th January 2016
A routine browse through the Mid Sussex District Council's Grants Panel documentation for January has thrown up a bit of a scandal which shows that MSDC are making the rules up as the go along - or a councillor is giving wrong information - when it comes to spending Burgess Hill's developer contribution money.
The unfortunate party in this scandal is Hurstpierpoint Bowls Club. They applied for a £65k faciltiy grant from MSDC to help pay for their £130k pavilion extension project.
The MSDC officers made the recommendation to the panel that the club should be awarded £61,716.
Here's where the money is coming from....
Cabinet Grants Panel members should note, the recommended grant is funded through developer contributions from three sites in Hurstpierpoint and three in Burgess Hill (*marked with an asterisk) that were collected for Formal Sport in the South Area and are due to expire shortly so must be committed and spent as soon as possible to comply with the terms of the legal agreements.
A total of £13,861 is coming from Burgess Hill How can this be?
There are three issues here:
1.The report says that money is due to expire soon and needs to be spent. Were all the sports clubs in Burgess Hill made aware that there was money available to be spent in OUR town? Clubs always needs extra funds so why isn't this money staying in our boundary?
2. Burgess Hill Town Football Club need to add a new stand by March 31st to comply with the Ryman Premier League ground gradings in order to avoid automatic relegation. It's been a big story locally. Why can't MSDC use this 'Formal Sport' money
to help the club, the most successful football team in the district?
3. When a section of the Burgess Hill community appealed to MSDC for a water play area in St Johns Park via a petition (The same as Haywards Heath) Cllr Publicity Pru Moore - cabinet member for leisure and sustainability - was very clear when she said that there was no money in the pot. She said that developer section 106 contributions can ONLY be spent in the area of the town in which the homes are built.
In the case of Hurstpierpoint's Bowls club pavilion money, not only is the money not being spent in the immediate area that generated the funds, but it's being spent in a totally different location in the district!
Is this a sign of things to come when it's been mentioned that MSDC could spend money generated from Burgess Hill's 'Northern Arc' development anywhere across Mid-Sussex?
A town is supposed to reap the benefits of extra housing, not lose out.
We Need Answers
This is a very unsatisfactory situation, one that Mid Sussex District Council need to come out and explain fully.
Our community needs full transparency as to what the Section 106 developer contributions are permitted to be spent on, where they can be spent, who decides the projects and recipients of the funds, and how the community can be involved in this process.
We have put some questions to Mid Sussex District Council about this situation and will publish their response if they choose to provide one in due course.
|Spread the word, SCANDAL as Burgess Hill's formal sport money is being given away by MSDC to other towns and villages!
Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
Do you think it's right that money generated for formal sport in Burgess Hill is being spent outside of the town? Going forward, how can we ensure that the people of Burgess Hill get everything owed to them?