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Land Purchased For The Beehive Community Venue Project Could Now Be Sold Off By The Town Council

8th May 2024 | By Peter Chapman

New Burgess Hill Town Council Leader Peter Williams has brought a fresh new approach to the 'on again - off again' Beehive project by looking to draw a line under the embarassing episode with the possibility of selling off the land.

It's been a year since the Beehive has been spoken of, but that changed after a resident used the 'Open Forum' portion of Tuesday evening's full council meeting (May 7th) to ask the council to explain about a payment to architects Unknown Works for 'Feasibility study of new design for Beehive' dated 23rd February 2024 for a total of £4964.40

"Was this a payment for previous work carried out that had only recently been paid, or has the Beehive been resurrected and this is yet another new study and who authorised it?"
they asked

As sure as night follows day, Chairman Janice Henwood defaulted to asking Cllr Robert Eggleston to explain, but thankfully, the named council leader Peter Williams stepped up to answer the query.

burgess hill town council leader Peter Williams

"We have a plot of land which we call the RBL land which is sitting there doing nothing. What we wanted to do is get an idea that if the Beehive - in whatever form it takes - was a viable proposition, we needed to find which was the most appropriate design that could go on that site and therefore we had to employ Unknown Works in order to come up with some ideas that would be acceptable to take forward to a possible plan.

"So at this moment in time, it's on hold until we have an option for that land. It's sitting there doing nothing. We have a price that we could sell it for - which is not particularly good at this moment in time because of circumstances - but we are pursuing that and there is a limit on the amount that we will spend on it."

It would have been nice if Burgess Hill Town Council had updated the community on the Beehive project by way of a Strategic Development Key Area Group Meeting. With £820k sunk into the project so far without a brick being laid, openess and transparency with the public is key.

Would the council have ever told us about the new expenditure and possibliity of selling off the land had a resident not happened across this information when browsing hundreds of lines of council payments in a quarterly spreadsheet?

All eyes are now on Cllr Robert Eggleston - who is the new chairman of the BHTC Strategic Development Key Area Group - to see if and when he will allow this latest chapter in the Beehive story to be open to scrutiny and debated among his fellow councillors and the public.

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