Extensive town centre redevelopment including a new town square, a new community arts centre, and a new civic centre housing the police, town council and library, is proposed in Burgess Hill’s draft Neighbourhood Plan.
It has taken the Town Council two years to produce and those living and working in Burgess Hill have just six weeks from today (Saturday March 1) to have their say on the Plan which maps out the town’s development until 2034.
The document is inextricably linked to the Burgess Hill Town-wide Strategy 2011 which could see the town grow in population from approximately 30,000 to nearly 45,000 under housing initiatives such as the Northern Arc.
One of the Plan’s key objectives is to ensure Burgess Hill can boast facilities appropriate and commensurate with a town of such size.
To facilitate this, the town centre is highlighted as a stand-alone study area in the document, and is then split into five distinct quarters.
New houses are proposed for the Civic and Cultural Quarter, including the Cyprus Road car park area with its links through to Church Walk.
The Plan states: “New housing development will be encouraged within this Quarter to support and enable new developments to come forward.”
The vision is that such development would enable ‘a new library, arts centre / theatre, civic offices and police station’ to be built in the area.
The Leisure and Entertainment Quarter is focused on Church Walk, the pedestrian section of which is deemed ‘bland’.
The Plan states: “A new town cinema and public square is to be provided in this Quarter, linking through to the Retail Quarter.”
A map on p26 of the 97-page document depicts areas where a new cinema and town square could front Church Walk.
In the Retail Quarter, which includes Church Walk and the Martlets Shopping Centre, it is stated: “Development will be brought forward through private sector investment.”
A major redevelopment of the town’s shopping centre is expected to be announced after Easter, and will include provision for new parking facilities as well as larger shop units more suited to modern retail demands.
Elsewhere, a ‘significant amount of housing’ is proposed for the Martlets Hall site which falls into The Brow Quarter. Following the relocation of the public services currently there, such as Fire and Police, it is proposed a mix of development could provide new community facilities, improved health facilities, potentially a new hotel, as well as a redesigned St Wilfrids School.
The fifth quarter of the Town Centre Study area is the Station Quarter where the Queens Crescent Car Park ‘is allocated for redevelopment to include residential units, employment / hotel, and improved parking facilities’.
Within the Town Centre Study Area policies include retaining the existing number of car parking spaces, improving cycle routes and supporting the development of a minimum of 200 new dwellings.
For more about the Burgess Hill Neighbourhood Plan, including all consultation event details, and plans for self-build Grand Designs, see this week’s Mid Sussex Times (February 27, 2014), pages 6&7.