MSDC & Mims Davies Fail To Secure Goverment Money For Burgess Hill Town Centre Regeneration
27th October 2021 |
Mid Sussex District Council and Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies have failed to secure a share of the government's 'Leveling Up Fund' for the Martlets Shopping Centre when the allocations were announced today.
Neighbouring districts of Arun and Lewes were successful with bids for projects.
A sum of £19.4 million will be spent across Bognor Regis' Alexandra Theatre and Littlehampton's seafront and riverside areas.
Lewes District Council's £20.5 million is to be spent on rebuilding the Exceat Bridge near Seaford and on improvements to Newhaven's West Beach.
Elsewhere in Sussex, Eastbourne Borough Council were also successful with a £19 million bid for their town centre.
Long-time readers will know that NewRiver Retail have been talking about regenerating the Martlets Shopping Centre for over a decade now. The most recent approved scheme was supposed to be delivered by September 2020 and to include a plethora of restaurants, 10-screen Cineworld and a Hollywood Bowl.
Following the pandemic, Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies said that there had always been a viability gap in the scheme for the Martlets.....yet MSDC allowed for the Martlets Hall to be demolished with no guarantee that the land on which it stood would actually be used by NewRiver.
The local MP backed the bid submitted to the Government by Mid Sussex District Council for £14 million which was to 'start the revitalisation of The Martlets shopping centre, sustainable transport and public realm upgrades and a new Digital Hub to support local businesses.'
Mims Davies and Mid Sussex District Council Leader Jonathan Ash-Edwards are both prolific Twitter users, but have not offered a single word today about the failed bid, choosing instead to focus on national politics.
One local politician who has commented on the situation is Burgess Hill Town Council Leader Robert Eggleston.
He has said in a statement sent to BHU: “I am dismayed, frustrated and angry that Burgess Hill town centre’s £14m funding bid was not included in the Levelling-Up fund allocations recently announced by the government. The government gave away £1.7bn and so it is extremely disappointing that a further £14m could not be found for a scheme which we were told was ‘shovel-ready’.
"Residents have waited for far too many years to see the redevelopment of the Martlets Shopping Centre take place. We have sacrificed much in that time, including the Martlets Hall which was demolished on the promise of a redevelopment that hasn’t materialised. This £14m bid would have meant that the redevelopment could, at last, have gone ahead.
"If Burgess Hill’s town centre is to have any chance of a sustained economic and social recovery it is absolutely essential that new investment is brought forward quickly. So whilst I hope that Mid Sussex District Council is able to resubmit its bid it is clearly vital now that there is a deliverable Plan B. This is something I have been asking for since 2019 and the two key stakeholders – New River REIT and Mid Sussex District Council should come forward with a sustainable alternative proposal upon which residents can be consulted by Easter 2022. Then it should be rapidly implemented if we are ruled out of the Levelling Up fund. The residents of Burgess Hill have been let down and left disappointed too many times over the last 15 years and our patience has simply run out.”
The next scheduled full meeting of Mid Sussex District Council is taking place on Wednesday 3rd November at 7pm. It will be live-streamed and is sure to be very 'lively'.
|Spread the word - MSDC's bid for cash to kickstart the Martlets regeneration has FAILED.