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New Burgess Hill Community Arts & Peformance Venue Wins Planning Approval

17th January 2020

Burgess Hill Town Council have moved a step closer to replacing the Martlets Hall when the Beehive Centre was granted planning permission by the MSDC Planning Committee on Thursday 16th January.

The Beehive will be constructed in place of the former Royal British Legion building on Cyprus Road IF the council can raise the millions of pounds required to make the project a reality.

The centre will comprise a 237-seat theatre, a multi-purpose dance/rehearsal studio, meeting rooms, dressing room/support spaces, foyer spaces and associated café/bar.

Costs & Funding

The build and fit-out costs are £5.5 million. The council can fund £3 million via a public works board loan. The other £2.5 million is currently dependant on the success of a professional fundraiser.

How We Got Here
If you'd forgotten, the Conservative administration at MSDC gave the green light for the land on which to Martlets Hall sits to be used for redevelopment by NewRiver Retail during the 2015-19 term - without securing a like-for-like replacement or any funds towards a new one. There was much public uproar and even a petition signed by thousands of residents, yet the 'deal' was made and the venue was consigned to history - finally closing in the Summer of 2018 and currently being demolished as I write this story.

The Conservative Councillors on the town council at the time - many of which also sat on MSDC - then decided the town did need a replacement and put a very large payment plan to the public which lost at an unofficial referendum. The public rejected having to pay to replace something which should have materialised from the private sector and/or existing MSDC funds.

What Happens Next?
With planning permission obtained and virtually a whole new set of councillors elected, the town council have already submitted the paperwork for a charitable trust to be formed to manage the building. Once rubber-stamped, a bigger effort can be made to push for sources of funding in order to see if the project is viable.

Spread the word! Planning permission has been obtained for the Beehive Comunity Arts venue in Burgess Hill.

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
With the latest hurdle cleared, what are your thoughts now on the possibility of a new comunity arts venue for Burgess Hill?

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