The scheduled event on Wednesday this week was at the Burgess Hill Town Council HQ at 4pm, and it became a slight concern when it became clear that it might clash with England’s World Cup semi final game. There were some who dropped out of the event because of the football, but there was still an excellent turnout of members – I counted 36 in the room for the presentation – so well done and thanks to those who were there.
After some lovely banter with Andrea and Shalma in the Help Point, I gathered the group up stairs in the Council Chamber to listen to a presentation by Councillor Pru Moore about the future development of the town. It was an excellent speech, giving great hope for the immediate future of the town, praising of the work of the councils and and spelling out exactly what is happening and what we can expect in the next few years. It was also good that she made clear that other members of the Council were there, were available to consult and were keen to engage with businesses.
Among other details she told us that …
- government has bought the Northern Arc development from developers for £100m
- Burgess Hill is the 10th largest growth area in the UK
- £12m is being spent in the town centre on traffic schemes alone to improve traffic flow
- on the A2300 £17m is to be spent, and it must be done by 2021
- the New River developers in town centre have been held up by legal issues
- Building is due to start on demolishing the library and Martlets Hall (the library will have a temporary new home
- There will be a new 270 seat multi-purpose venue on the current British Legion site
- A new Travelodge with conference facilities will be opened in town centre
- All this information can be found on burgesshill.net (nb I just tried it and found nothing there yet)
- There will be new doctors’ practices, as well as new schools, opening to serve the new population which may amount to 10,000
There were questions from the floor, and one key point came through – that there is a lack of commercial property for expanding businesses to buy or rent. Several people mentioned it and the members of the Council are certainly aware now that this is a major issue in the town ie a number of businesses are looking to expand and may have to leave Burgess Hill if they can’t find suitable premises. Those premises are not currently available. Councillor Moore promised that she would find out more for me, and I shall let you know when she does.
Tats Keenan of Indigo Events did the catering and it was a delicious spread, with both alcoholic and non alcoholic wines plus soft drinks laid on by BHTC. I do strongly recommend Indigo Events for catering if you need someone for an event. Tatjana is brilliant.
After the presentation the networking went on until we had to ask people to leave, such was the positivity and good feeling around on that evening. I spoke to lots of members and received nothing but good reports about the BHBPA and the usefulness of the newsletter. It was a fantastically positive vibe, which can’t even be explained by the upcoming football semi final.
Of course my thanks go to Steve Cridland and his marvellous staff at BHTC for hosting the event, to Pru Moore for the presentation and to the other councillors for their attendance and willingness to discuss issues. Also thanks to members for coming along to hear important stuff about the future of the town and businesses.
It would be remiss of me not to also mention how lovely it was to spend a little time with Andrea and Shalma at BHTC again, to hear of what a rebel Shalma has become and to see how quickly Andrea can set out the name badges whilst multi-tasking too!