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Martlets Shopping Centre Owners Must Face The Public In A Meeting Say Burgess Hill Lib Dems

14th February 2019 | By Peter Chapman

The Burgess Hill Liberal Democrats are calling on NewRiver Retail to 'face the music' by attending a public meeting in the town where they should explain why the redevelpment of the town centre is so delayed and what their true plans for the town may now be.

"Burgess Hill residents are becoming increasingly fed up with the delay in redeveloping the town centre and are demanding answers and action” said Robert Eggleston, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Mid Sussex.

“Both New River Retail and Mid Sussex District Council promised that major work on the town centre would start in the Summer last year. Other than the work on the temporary library, nothing has happened and as shops have emptied we have been caught in a downward spiral." said Robert

Burgess Hill Uncovered exclusively revealed last week that footfal in the town was significantly down compared to a couple of years ago, this after Cllr Pru Moore was allowed to make unchallenged comments in the local newspaper where she stated that the neighbouring Market Place shopping centre in Burgess Hill was 'always thriving'

On this issue, Robert said:

"Despite unsubstantiated claims of lively trading, the truth is that footfall in our town centre shops is down 18% compared to 2016. This is, in no part, due to the fact that so much of the shopping centre is boarded up as New River rushed to squeeze out loyal, Burgess Hill based, traders."

Letter To NewRiver Retail Goes Unanswered
Mr Eggleston wrote to NewRiver Retail last month, requesting a detailed update on their plans but has yet to even receive any sort acknowledgement.

"The disregard for the town and its residents must stop and, it is now more important than ever, that NewRiver Retail and Mid Sussex come clean and provide the town with a new timetable for the redevelopment which they can stick to and in which residents can have confidence.

“New River Retail must come to town and face residents at a public meeting and the sooner they do it the better. It is about time we had openness and transparency from them and Mid Sussex District Council so we can properly understand when this development will be started and finished and crucially what it includes."

Mr Eggleston has once again written to NewRiver Retail CEO, requesting some suitable dates for such a meeting. We shall update you should he make any headway with his efforts.

For reference, here's the list of questions
that Mr Eggleston sent to Allan Lockhart, CEO of NewRiver Retail, last month:

1. You published that phase 1 construction was due to commence in Summer 2018 but, save for work on the temporary library, there has been no activity. Please can you provide a revised timeline for the start date of demolition and building works on the LIDL side of the shopping centre?

2. Mid Sussex District Council stated that the temporary library would be completed in Autumn 2018 and demolition works (presumably the demolition of the Martlets Hall and library) would be carried out. When will the relocation of the library finally take place?

3. Given that you sold the development of the 142 apartments to Delph Property Group, when do you expect work on the 142 apartments to commence and what is the timescale for their completion?

4. What control do you have over the start date of the development of the apartments?

5. Is it still the case that the apartments will be developed in advance of the retail development?

6. Have you exchanged contracts with a company for the demolition of the Martlets Heights?

7. How long will this demolition take to complete?

8. What period have you allowed for fit-out and when do you expect any new units that have been let to open for business.

9. On your website you have two plans for the shopping centre (one of which can be downloaded as a pdf). There are some interesting discrepancies between the two plans. In the pdf version you show a 16 lane Hollywood Bowl, H&M and Superdrug whilst the online version shows these units as still available for let. What is the commercial position with regards to these units?

10. How many of the 'new' tenants have signed Leases compared to Agreements to Lease or non binding Heads of Terms?

11. Do any of the 'new' tenants have any right to withdraw from a potential tenancy before the development is completed (I partly ask this given the well documented financial problems of the Tasty Group which owns Wildwood)?

12. The planning consent did not envisage that the Martlets Hall would be demolished and then turned into a car park. How long is it planned for this part of the site to be retained as a car park?

Spread the word! The Burgess Hill Liberal Democrats are calling on NewRiver Retail to meet the public to explain what's going on with Burgess Hill Town Centre.

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
Would you like a public meeting held where NewRiver Retail have to explain themselves to the residents of Burgess Hill/

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