A new library for Burgess Hill
West Sussex County Council has opened a brand new library in the heart of Burgess Hill town centre.
The new library has been funded and developed by NewRiver REIT as part of their wider plans to transform Burgess Hill into a vibrant and sustainable leisure and retail destination for the future. The old library can now be demolished to make way for the town centre regeneration project.
The relocation of Burgess Hill Library has given the County Council the opportunity to redesign the layout and upgrade facilities. An attractive study area at the front of the glass fronted building provides a comfortable, modern and welcoming environment for customers to use their electronic devices on the free WiFi. The bright and colourful children's area offers a mix of seating, including cute reading nooks for little ones and comfy places to share a story.
Contemporary shelving provides the flexibility to host a much wider range of events, including author talks and family activities in and out of term time. There is also the opportunity to work with partner organisations more efficiently and provide a range of services under one roof in a cost-effective manner.
A Changing Places toilet and lift has been installed to ensure the new library is accessible to all. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well people with other physical disabilities such as spinal injuries, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis often need more support than is provided by a standard disabled toilet. A Changing Places toilet provides the extra equipment and space that's required to enable everyone to use the toilets safely and comfortably.
The latest planning application for NewRiver REIT's town centre redevelopment has been submitted for consideration by the District Planning Committee. You can view the application online at https://pa.midsussex.gov.uk/online-applications/ using reference DM/19/3331.
Northern Arc construction to begin this spring
The construction of the first Northern Arc homes at Freeks Farm, and the supporting bridge and link road which will connect Isaacs Lane to Freeks Farm, is expected to begin this spring.
Homes England has appointed Countryside Properties to build 460 new homes at Freeks Farm, including 30% affordable. Public open space and a new play area will also be delivered along with cycle and pedestrian routes connecting the site to the local area.
In the West of the site, Homes England has submitted a planning application for a new link road and associated roundabouts. This will tie into the A2300 corridor improvement scheme being promoted by West Sussex County Council. Subject to planning consent, work on the link road is expected to start in summer 2020 and will see Homes England commit £6.5 million to this key piece of infrastructure.
Mid Sussex District Council is delighted that Homes England decided to manage this development because, unlike private developments, they can maximise the amount of infrastructure that’s delivered for the local community and ensure it’s delivered alongside the new homes.
Homes England released the first of many quarterly progress updates for the Northern Arc project last week and it was great to see new roads, cycle paths, schools, medical facilities and the centre for community sport are all planned as part of Phase One of the development.
The update is available online at https://burgesshill.net/perch/resources/admin/200110-a4newsletterv2.pdf
What goes online, stays online
Every time you use social media, buy or sell something online, visit any kind of website, send or receive an email, find your way using a mapping app or save a photo to the cloud, you add to your digital footprint. The same goes for downloading music, making Skype calls and using voice assistant. Every time you post a photo of your children or your friends, you add to their digital footprint too.
When an ad for something you've shown interest in online pops up on Facebook it's because of your digital footprint. When you don't get on the shortlist for a job because of something you posted five years ago, that's because of your digital footprint too.
Your digital footprint is part of your online history and can potentially be seen by other people or tracked and held in databases. In the most serious cases, it could lead to your family or friends becoming victims of fraud or identity theft, it could put your children at risk of criminal activity and your records could fall into the wrong hands, including perpetrators of organised crime.
Thankfully, there are simple steps that you can take to reduce and change the nature of the impressions that you leave online. Sussex Police, West Sussex County Council and Get Safe Online have put together some expert tips to help you minimise your digital footprint, or make sure it's a good one. To improve your online footprint just visit www.getsafeonline.org/yourdigitalfootprint
New Council Tax Support Scheme
We've updated our Council Tax Support Scheme to make it simpler, more transparent and easier for people to understand.
The Council Tax Support Scheme offers a discount that helps low income households of working age to pay their Council Tax. There are currently about 3,200 people of working age in Mid Sussex who are eligible for a Council Tax reduction under our support scheme.
The changes, which will be effective from 1 April 2020, bring the Mid Sussex Council Tax Support Scheme into line with the Government's Universal Credit. Recipients of Universal Credit can find that the amount received varies slightly from month to month and this creates complications for the existing Council Tax Support Scheme. Each time the amount changes, even by just a few pence, the taxpayer’s support automatically changes, as well as the amount they pay in Council Tax.
On average, 40% of Universal Credit recipients have between eight and twelve changes per year in the amount they receive. People are confused by the constant change this creates in the level of Council Tax Support they receive and it leaves them unsure about just how much Council Tax they are required to pay.
Our updated Council Tax Support Scheme places recipients into bands based on the income of their household. This simplified approach means only significant changes in income will affect the level of discount awarded, making it much easier for people to understand the amount of Council Tax they have to pay.
The new banded Council Tax Support Scheme makes the whole process much simpler. Payments are more consistent, there is a greater degree of transparency and it is much more straightforward to understand.
Place and Connectivity programme
Work continues to progress on the Place and Connectivity Programme that will deliver significant infrastructure improvements and link key destinations in Burgess Hill.
We're working together with West Sussex County Council and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership to deliver a network of sustainable transport and public realm improvements.
Collectively, we have secured a £21.8 million funding package that consists of £10.9 million from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and £10.9 million from developer contributions for the Place and Connectivity Programme.
Survey work took place at the end of 2019 to help us find ways to improve sustainable transport infrastructure, reduce congestion and increase connectivity across Burgess Hill.
Public engagement is scheduled for spring 2020 to give residents the opportunity to have their say on the proposals.
Celebrating our community stars
Guerrilla gardeners, inspiring sports leaders, fundraising exercisers, and green gurus were honoured alongside projects highlighting mental health awareness, hubs of community support and projects bringing music to their communities at our Mid Sussex Applauds Awards.
Our Chairman, Councillor Colin Trumble, hosted the new community recognition awards at East Grinstead’s Meridian Hall to recognise the time, skills and energy each nominee had dedicated to helping their community.
Awards were made in the following eight categories -
Stronger Together Award
Winner – Karen Williams
Karen revived the Duck Fair in World’s End in Burgess Hill. Over 5,000 people attended. Karen ate, slept and breathed the Duck Fair!
Joint runners up – Sarah Cheesmur and Jane Hill
3rd place - Gary Simons
Take Pride in Mid Sussex Award (sponsored by ID Verde)
Joint winners - Rob McIntyre and Colin McFarlin
Rob instigated the Balcombe Garden Guerrillas who care for the gardens at Balcombe Station. The gardens have won critical acclaim. He is now involved in renovating Balcombe phone boxes.
Colin volunteers as a Waste Prevention Advisor – he has delivered 28 talks to local groups and had notched up 220 hours of volunteering in 2019 alone!
2nd place - Burgess Hill Recycling - Terracycle scheme,
3rd place - Richard Inman
Young Achiever Award
Winner – Peter McCleery
Peter was instrumental in creating a petition to highlight the issues around the closure of Haywards Heath College. Despite many obstacles, Peter has gone out of his way to help other students get a college near to home.
2nd place – Oli Saunders
Stronger Communities Award (sponsored by CAE)
Joint winners - Sussex Oakleaf and Spire Cafe IT Support
‘Sussex Oakleaf’s The Big Mental Health Pop up’ project was incredibly inspiring. It created mental health awareness for the general public to help reduce stigma and create a discussion platform. It brought a sense of vitality for the community in an area undergoing redevelopment.
The Spire Café IT support group hold weekly sessions and are in their 5th year. The team of volunteers are extremely dedicated, unassuming and committed with a wealth of knowledge between them.
2nd place - Sussex Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Community Support Group (Jane Green)
3rd place – Jubilee Hub
Business in the Community Award (sponsored by Caravan and Motorhome club)
Winner - Swoove Fitness - Esther Featherstone
Swoove stands for singing, whooping and moving. The classes are available for everyone, young and old, those with limited mobility and special needs. Swoove has raised over £64,000 for charities and Esther aims to raise £1milion in her lifetime.
2nd - Handcross Hardware and Craft Store
Joint 3rd – Mug Tree Tea Room and Mid Sussex Wood Recycling Project
Young Volunteer of the Year Award (sponsored by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner)
Winner – Ayo Odeyinde
During the summer holidays, Ayo arranged summer sports clubs and did all the work related to it. He is a really valued role model for younger children.
Joint 2nd – Nathan White and Stephen Beckett
3rd - Rhea Burman
Good Sport Award (sponsored by Places Leisure)
Winner - Marion Hemsworth
Marion has worked tirelessly to get people running and making running an enjoyable activity available to all. She is a great ambassador for running and proof that your passion can inspire others.
2nd - Linda Tullett
3rd - Hurstpierpoint Football Club
Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner - Dorothy Lazenby
Dorothy has been running 4Sight lunch clubs for over 38 years! ‘Irreplaceable, inspiring, selfless, committed, thoughtful and kind’ are just a few words used to describe her!
2nd - Alan Kelly
3rd - Barbara Alderson
Peer Nominated Award
In this category each nominee is given the chance to vote for their favourite in any of the categories. The winner was – Dorothy Lazenby.
Awards were presented by sponsors and by High Sheriff of West Sussex Mrs Davina Irwin-Clark. Full details of the winners’ stories can be found at www.midsussex.gov.uk/applauds