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Martlets Hall Demolition Cost Spirals - And It's Not Even Finished Yet!!!

8th June 2020 | By Peter Chapman

The cost of demolishing the Martlets Hall has cost MSDC £349k so far, against an original budget of £180k says Burgess Hill Town Council Leader Robert Eggleston.

robert eggleston burgess hill

Addressing the Burgess Hill public with an update on the situation through a live broadcast on the BHU Facebook page, the Meeds Ward Councillor revealed that he's exchanged several emails with Mid Sussex District Council officers and cabinet members as he seeks further answers and a commitment to get the land - that he describes as looking like a 'bombsite' - cleared and leveled ASAP, for it then to be used by the community until a better long-term use can be found.

martlets shopping centre burgess hill

Seeking Answers

7 Questions had been tabled ahead of the 1st June MSDC cabinet meeting to address the Martlets situation 'on the record' but went unanswered in public.

The demolition project stalled in 2018 when asbestos was found on site, it ultimately led to a change of contractor and a long delay. It had been thought that the additional cost was around £65k, but Cllr Eggleston claims to have found figures suggesting a much higher expenditure to date.

Initially, Mid Sussex District Council were hoping to split the £180k demolition cost with NewRiver REIT, with the land being used as a car park to net MSDC £25k pa until such time that NewRiver begin their redevelopment of the shopping centre (amended application pending approval). What the financial arrangements are now is anyone's guess.

martlets hall demolition

Deadline Given To MSDC Leader
During the live video, Cllr Eggleston revealed that he has given MSDC Leader Jonathan Ash-Edwards a deadline of Tuesday 9th June to come back with answers.
"I've given them a deadline until Tuesday to answer the points I've raised, otherwise we'll call for a scrutiny committee meeting so that we can go through the project and come up with some serious recommendations so that we can deal with this issue satisfactorily. said Cllr Eggleston.

There's a few provisional dates for the relevant scrutiny committee at MSDC penciled in, and Cllr Eggleston is keen for the Martlets to be on the agenda

"I'm hoping we will have a detailed report on how this project was handled, why there was a cost over-run, what the District Council needs to do to demolish the rest of the site, what it needs to do to make it good, and to come up with a coherent plan to bring this site back into use as quickly as possible for the benefit of Burgess Hill."
he said

old burgess hill library
The town is also awaiting the demolition of the old Library - another cost

Situation Is Unfair On The Town
For residents, the land 'as is' is very unsightly and gives a very poor impression of the town for visitors, especially those who park up in the popular 'Waitrose' car park before heading off on foot to the ever-decreasing retail choice that the town has to offer. The appearance of the site is also unfair on the remaining retailers we have in the town centre.

On this, Cllr Eggleston said: "My view is, we clear it, we flatten it, we put a robust structure down on top of it and then we bring it back into use. It's a good bit of urban open space that you could make attractive.

"If you've got events going on in the town, if you've got an open market, if we can bring some of these units back into use, and even if it's only for two years, it could become an attractive feature for the town "

You can watch the whole Q&A video with the public here:

Spread the word, the demolition of the Martlets Hall has majorly spiralled and the costs aren't done yet!

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
What's do you think of this situation? Should the costs keep coming out of the public purse to ultimately aid a private business?

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