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Government Approve Beehive Performance Venue Loan Application

13th Stepember 2021 | By Peter Chapman

Burgess Hill Town Council have gained approval from the public works board for a loan to enable to Beehive Performance Venue to become a reality.

The council have been awarded an intial £1.68 million, with a total of £4.8 million available as the project progresses. The loan is to be serviced via the existing town council precept and cash reserves.

A public consultation was held in the spring regarding the proposed funding for the building which was backed by 88% of survey respondents, this enabled the council to submit the loan application in May.

The application for a Charitable Incorporated Organisation to manage The Beehive has been approved by the Charity Commission and a professional team has been appointed to manage the demolition and construction.

the beehive burgess hill

Commenting on the loan approval, Council Leader Robert Eggleston said:
“This is massive, because the whole project was dependent on getting the loan approved, without it we weren't going anywhere.

The loan approval unblocks so much, not just the work, but our ability to apply for other sources of funding from grant-making bodies, the District Council and others. It gives us as a town, the confidence that this is a project that we can deliver."

There will be seperate tender processes for the demolition of the RBL building and the construction of the Beehive and Cllr Eggleson hopes that local firms will come forward.

"We need to be compliant in our tendering process, but we are hoping that local suppliers will come forward so that they can tender and deliver the work, and we will construct the tender in such a way that more points will be awarded to firms bidding that are based locally - reducing transport miles, construction costs - and delivering a project in accordance to the values that we as a town council want to see in a project like this.

"We want to have the best design that we can achieve with the money that we've got, building in accessability, sustainability, and hopefully not just once it's built, but in the process of building it - suppporting the local economy."

With the loan now approved, the demolition of the existing RBL building could happen by the end of the year.

"We've gone back to the District Council to ask if they can vary their planning conditions so that we can bring forward the demolition of the Royal British Legion building and effectly de-couple it from the construction works. That application has gone in and will be considered by Mid Sussex District Council in November and if that's approved - and I can't see why it wouldn't be approved - it means we would be in a position to get on site and do the demoltion work earlier than we would be doing if we had to wait for our construction management plan to be in place. It means that we can get the ground ready for construction work some time in 2022"

The actual construction of the Beehive could begin in the spring says Cllr Eggleston:

"This is a difficult project and there will be slips along the way, but if it all goes to plan, I would hope that we'd be on site building in the spring next year. It's a 19 month build, so if we're on site in April 2022, then towards the back-end of 2023 we will be doing a soft-launch opening of the Beehive and I'm sure I speak on behalf of the whole of the town council when I say we want to deliver phase one and phase two of the project at the same time."

For regular updates on the Beehive Community venue project, follow the Friends of the Beehive on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/burgesshillbeehive

Spread the word! The loan for the Beehive Community Venue has been approved.

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