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11-Storey Block Of Flats Wins Approval In The Updated Martlets Shopping Centre Scheme

3rd September 2020 | By Peter Chapman

The revised plans for the Martlets Shopping Centre were approved by the District Plannng committee on Thursday afternoon, 4 years after the previous scheme won approval.

A bowling alley, an 11-storey block of flats, the introduction of allowing vehicles to turn right when exiting Waitrose car park and a large cycle parking area in Church Walk were the notable changes in the plans.

Cllr Janice Henwood (Lib Dem) spoke as a public speaker for three minutes to argue that the 11-storey block of flats was not appropriate, how it did harm to the setting of St John's Church and that the Mid Sussex District Council Design Guide only makes provision for residential buildings being a maximum 6 storeys in height.

Cllr Anne Eves (Green Party) is a member of the District Planning Committee, but was barred from taking part in the discussion as she had previously been quoted in the local press as being against the high-rise block of flats and shared concerns over the amount of parking provision. She released a statement after the meeting, revealing what she would have said if allowed.

Cllr Robert Eggleston (Lib Dem) spoke as the ward councillor and was rather pragmatic in his views. He said that the scheme needed to be approved as a whole, 'you can't pick 'n' mix, approving the bits you like and rejecting the bits you don't'

Addressing NewRiver Retail directly, he said: "Having been given permission, you actually deliver the scheme this time and to a reasonable timetable. If this happens, Burgess Hill can look forward to the future with renewed hope".

Mr Michael Wood, spoke on behalf of NewRiver Retail. Most concerningly, he said:
Whilst we've still got plenty of work to go in delivering these proposals, this afternoon's committee will be a crucial step forward for NewRiver to deliver these important proposals for the town centre.

Plenty of work to go???? They've had an approved scheme since 2016! What else is there holding things up? Are they looking to get a reduction on the head lease with MSDC perhaps?

Cllr Robert Salisbury - Committee Chairman,
commented on the 11-storey tower block by saying "I think, in terms of modern architecture, I think that is an absolutely stunning piece of architecture." He thinks the design 'accentuates' St John's Church rather than detracting from it.

The committee took just half an hour to unanimously approve the proposals.

NewRiver Retail had said earlier this year that they hoped to get started on the redevelopment within six months of obtaining planning permission and could complete all the work within 2 years. The clock is now ticking - and has been since March 2016.

Spread the word! The latest revised plans for the Martlets Shopping Cente have been approved.

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