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Clair Hall site set for regeneration

Clair HallThe Council has agreed to regenerate the Clair Hall site in Haywards Heath and Councillors have asked that options for redevelopment include the provision of new modern community facilities. 

Clair Hall is over 50 years old and has been closed since 19 March 2020 to reduce the spread of coronavirus. At a meeting of Cabinet on Monday 14 September it was agreed that Clair Hall will remain closed permanently and Council officers should explore options for the regeneration of the site; including the potential inclusion of modern community facilities, either as part of any future regeneration of the site or at another location within the town centre.

Government restrictions on social gatherings mean Clair Hall must remain closed. It runs at a financial loss and will cost over £1 million to repair and maintain the ageing building over the next 20 years. The hall was originally built as a performance venue, but it is now used mainly for meetings and exercise classes, which could be accommodated at other community buildings nearby.

The Council has played an integral part in the reopening of Haywards Heath College and the campus boasts a modern, purpose-built theatre which could meet the need for local performance art space.

The Clair Hall site has long been viewed in planning policy as a potential site for regeneration and now is the right time to explore those options. The focus of the Council over the next few years must be to support the Mid Sussex economy through these tough times and do everything it can to encourage new businesses and investment to the area.

News

Extra Affordable Housing for Freeks Farm

Freeks Farm artist impressionCountryside Properties, the developer that is building the first new homes at the Northern Arc in Burgess Hill, have announced they are going to provide an extra 20% Affordable Housing.

Planning permission requires that Countryside provide 30% Affordable Housing as part of the 237 home Freeks Farm development but this will now be increased to 50% as a direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Affordable Housing is provided to help those whose needs are not met by the open market and this additional 20% will make a huge difference to the lives of many local families who are in need of housing.

The excellent commuting links Mid Sussex has to London and Brighton mean we live in an area of high house prices and some local residents are priced out of the market. There are over 1800 applicants on the housing waiting list in Mid Sussex and this extra Affordable Housing will help over 100 of them to finally have a place they, and their family, can call home.

The Northern Arc development is being managed by Homes England, the Government housing agency, which means they are able to maximise the amount of Affordable Housing that’s delivered and ensure that vital infrastructure improvements are delivered alongside the new homes.

The first of Affordable Homes at Freeks Farm are expected to be available in spring 2021 and will range in size from one to four bedroom family homes, including properties reserved for those aged 55 and over, and four fully wheelchair-accessible homes.

Construction of homes at the Northern Arc will be ‘tenure blind’ – this means that homes destined for affordable rent or shared ownership will be built to the same high standards as those destined for private sale and distributed throughout the development. This includes the landscaping, look and feel of the surrounding areas too.

Homes England provided an extensive online update on how the whole Northern Arc development is progressing on 15 September and if you missed it you can watch a recording on Microsoft Teams.

There's also a dedicated Northern Arc Facebook group at www.facebook.com/northern.arc.BH if you have any questions for Homes England about the project.

Mid Sussex leisure centres reopen

Our three leisure centres at The Dolphin, Haywards Heath, Kings in East Grinstead and The Triangle, Burgess Hill reopened on 1 September.

Places Leisure, who run the leisure centres on our behalf, have produced a short video to give you an idea of what to expect when you return. Signage is in place to help people follow social distancing, there are hand sanitising and cleaning stations, the number of people taking part in each activity has been reduced and cleaning regimes have been greatly enhanced. 

Customers are asked to book all activities in advance via the Places Locker app or the Places Leisure website at https://www.placesleisure.org/

There will be a 15-30 minute changeover period between each session to allow customers time to exit their activity safely and Places Leisure staff to clean the facilities.

Social distancing restrictions mean leisure centres must operate at a vastly reduced capacity and they will require a significant financial subsidy to help them stay afloat, potentially £2.5 million this financial year alone.    

Our leisure centres are an important part of the local community and they mean so much to local people but this level of financial support cannot go on indefinitely. Now they are open again our leisure centres desperately need your support to help them through this coronavirus crisis - the more you use them, the less burden there will be on the taxpayer.  

Keep West Sussex safe

Hands Face SpaceAs restrictions ease, we can’t be complacent about COVID-19. Let’s do all we can to stop the spread of coronavirus in West Sussex. 

Please make sure you do your bit by following following government guidance, including these three simple steps:

  • HANDS - wash your hands regularly
  • FACE - wear a face covering
  • SPACE - observe social distancing

Find updates and further information about COVID-19 at www.westsussex.gov.uk/coronavirus

Mid Sussex to receive £3.2 million for digital infrastructure

We've worked with our Local Enterprise Partnership, Coast2Capital, to secure £3.2 million from the Government to help improve digital infrastructure in rural Mid Sussex.

Digital infrastructure in rural areas like Mid Sussex is often left behind big towns and cities because it is a much less profitable area for private companies to install the latest gigabit capable full fibre broadband.

This £3.2 million investment will help us to stimulate the market in rural areas and make our towns and villages much more attractive places to invest.

Mid Sussex Applauds - nominate your community champions

Time is running out fast if you want to highlight the fantastic work of local groups and individuals by nominating them for a Mid Sussex Applauds Award 2020.

The deadline is Friday 18th September so please get your nominations in now for -

Good Sport Award - a club or individual who has made an outstanding contribution to supporting activity or sport in Mid Sussex

Stronger Together - an individual who has helped to bring together cultures and communities through a local project or community activity

Young Volunteer of the Year - recognising those young people who have made a difference in their local community

Lifetime Achievement - an individual who has made a substantial commitment to the community in their lifetime

Take Pride in Mid Sussex - recognising residents who dedicate their time and energy into keeping Mid Sussex clean and green, take pride in their local area by
creating community gardens, painting local spaces, upcycling or encouraging others to recycle.

Business in the Community - recognising a business which supports or makes a positive contribution to benefit and enhance community life

Stronger Communities - a community group or organisation that has helped to bring together cultures and communities through a local project or community activity

Young Achiever Award - against all the odds, someone who has overcome significant obstacles and made a positive difference to their own lives or to other young people through education, campaigning or helping another overcome a difficult situation or personal problem

Full details and a simple nomination form are available at www.midsussex.gov.uk/applauds

Former Burgess Hill library set for demolition

Former Burgess Hill libraryThe demolition of a redundant former library building in Burgess Hill is set to start next month after proposals were approved by Mid Sussex District Council.

Burgess Hill library relocated to a new unit within the town centre in December 2019. The former library building is now vacant, and the Council’s Cabinet met on 14 September to approve the demolition and appoint a contractor to carry out the work.

Demolition of the former library building will allow NewRiver REIT to progress its plans for a mix of new leisure attractions, community facilities, retail units and restaurants in the heart of Burgess Hill. A revised planning application for new flats, shops, a gym, bowling alley, 10 screen cinema and Travelodge hotel was approved by Mid Sussex District Council on 3 September.

The former library demolition project includes work to reinstate a hard surface across the entirety of the site, including the area previously covered by Martlets Hall, to ensure the area is safe, clean, and ready to be brought back into public use.

Site preparation work is expected to start in October 2020, with the whole demolition project expected to take around six weeks to complete. Work will be carefully managed to keep any disruption to a minimum and every precaution will be taken to reduce dust and debris.

Lighter and brighter look for Wivelsfield Station

Wivelsfield station artworkWe will soon be carrying out some more improvements to the station bridge and the area surrounding Wivelsfield station as part of our Place and Connectivity Programme.

Work will begin later this month to brighten up Wivelsfield Station bridge following the recent installation of murals. The artwork has been created by artists working alongside the Worlds End Association and Manor Field Primary School. By repainting the underbridge and replacing and upgrading the lighting, these improvements will help to make the station area more welcoming to residents and visitors.

The bridge will remain fully open to pedestrians and traffic throughout the duration of the improvement works. Some pavement closures will be required but we'll keep the local community informed about when these will be needed.

The improvements at Wivelsfield station are part of our Place and Connectivity Programme, a group of projects taking place across Burgess Hill to improve public spaces and encourage people to walk and cycle. Future improvements planned for the Wivelsfield area will provide better walking and cycling connections to the station and a lift for step-free access. 

For more details on Place and Connectivity Programme improvements and to keep up to date with the Burgess Hill Growth Programme please check www.burgesshill.net 

Site Allocations Development Plan consultation

Site Allocations Development Plan DocumentA public consultation on the Mid Sussex draft Site Allocations Development Plan runs until Monday 28 September 2020 to allow you the opportunity to comment before it is submitted to Government for public examination.

The Mid Sussex District Plan 2014-2031, which was adopted in March 2018, sets out in broad terms what, where, when and how development will take place in Mid Sussex up until 2031. Whilst the majority of development sites are already planned for in the District Plan, the Planning Inspector required the Council to identify more sites to ensure the housing and employment needs of the District are met.

The draft Site Allocation Development Plan Document addresses that requirement and recommends 22 housing and 7 employment sites, at locations across Mid Sussex.

The draft Site Allocation Development Plan Document is available to view online at www.midsussex.gov.uk/SitesDPD. Comments can be submitted using an online form, by email to LDFconsultation@midsussex.gov.uk or by post to Planning Policy, Mid Sussex District Council, Oaklands, Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH161SS.

All comments received during the consultation will be considered by an independent planning inspector alongside the submitted Site Allocations DPD at a future Public Examination before deciding whether the Plan can be adopted by the Council.

What’s on

Play Days at Home

Each summer we host a series of Play Days for local families to enjoy in town and village parks across the District. However, with current coronavirus guidelines, it's not advisable to gather for such large-scale events and we decided to move to a new stage for Summer 2020.

Play Days at Home was our way of bringing the fun and excitement of Play Days to local families while they were at home during lockdown. We worked with many of the performers who were popular at our outdoor Play days to create a varied programme of videos that would help to keep children entertained over the summer holidays. There was a mix of entertainment, tutorials and activity ideas for the under-10's and DJ tutorials, art and dance sessions for older children. Videos were released every weekday throughout July and August on our YouTube channel.

If you missed the Play Days at Home during the summer then don't worry, all the videos are still available to watch on YouTube


Your Council

Council meetings

Online Cabinet MeetingPlease find below a list of all Council meetings coming up. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, all meetings will be held online and broadcast live on our YouTube channel.

Meeting agendas and papers will be available online five working days before each meeting at the links below:

22 Sept - Licensing Committee (16:00)

24 Sept - Planning Committee (16:00)

29 Sept - Cabinet Grants Panel (16:30)

30 Sept - Council (18:00)

6 Oct - Licensing Sub-Committee A (16:00)

8 Oct - PROVISIONAL - District Planning Committee (14:00)

12 Oct - PROVISIONAL - Cabinet (16:00)

12 Oct - PROVISIONAL - Standards Committee (18:30)

15 Oct - PROVISIONAL - Planning Committee (19:00)

19 Oct - PROVISIONAL - Cabinet Grants Panel (16:30)

4 Nov - PROVISIONAL - Council (19:00)

5 Nov - PROVISIONAL - Planning Committee (19:00)

11 Nov - PROVISIONAL - Scrutiny Committee for Leader, Finance and Performance (19:00)

12 Nov - PROVISIONAL - District Planning Committee (14:00)

Your services

Electoral Canvass 2020

Have you responded to the Annual Electoral Canvass?

Each year, everyone in the UK must confirm their electoral registration details are up-to-date by responding to the annual electoral canvass. This information is then used to ensure the electoral register is accurate.

So far, 93% of households across Mid Sussex have confirmed their details as part of the Annual Electoral Canvass but now we must follow up with all the properties who have not yet provided a response.

Please look out for an e-mail or form in the post containing details about who is registered to vote at your property and how to respond. By responding, you ensure you have a voice at future elections and maintain your credit rating.

You can find more information on the Annual Electoral Canvass on our website at: www.midsussex.gov.uk/elections-voting/annual-canvass/

Confused about recycling?

confused about recyclingIf you are confused about what you can put in your blue lidded recycling bin just visit our website and download our recycling leaflet or check out our handy room by room guide for details.

Don't forget, items for recycling in your blue lidded bin should be:

  • Clean – free from food leftovers, a quick rinse will do
  • Dry – keep your recycling bin lid shut
  • Loose – no plastic bags

If your recycling wheelie bin is not big enough we can provide a larger or second recycling bin free of charge, please email us at wastematters@midsussex.gov.uk

Wellbeing

Stop smoking for good this Stoptober

StoptoberDo you need some support to help you quit smoking for good this Stoptober?

Research shows that people who don’t smoke for 28-days are five times more likely to quit for good and by getting some support people are four times more likely to succeed.

The Stoptober campaign helps you to stay motivated and provides lots of online support services to help you kick the habit. Just sign up at www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober/home
to receive help and advice via daily emails, download the app or chat via Facebook messenger. 

If you're a smoker, giving up is the best thing you can do for your health. Within just 24 hours of quitting, your lungs will begin to clear, your risk of heart and lung disease is reduced and you will notice an improved sense of taste and smell. After just three days without smoking it becomes easier to breathe and you'll notice an increase in energy levels, ready to spend quality time with your children, family and friends.

As an extra boost, our Wellbeing Team is offering a free course of nicotine replacement therapy in October to help you quit the cravings and give up smoking for good. To sign-up for this additional support just email wellbeing@midsussex.gov.uk or give the team a call on 01444 477 191




Parks & Rangers

NEW Online Tennis Booking System

New online tennis booking systemFrom 1 October we will be launching a new customer-friendly online booking system for our parks and tennis courts.

We have been working in partnership with the LTA to bring their Clubspark booking system to our Mid Sussex parks tennis courts. Clubspark has already been successfully introduced in other parts of the country and is very simple to use, allowing you to guarantee a court time and pay for your session in advance, cancel your bookings and remove the need to call and speak a member of our Parks Team. After registering once, courts can be booked in a matter of clicks, and there is also an accompanying smartphone app to make the process even quicker.

Our new website will go live on 1 October for all court bookings and will contain step-by-step instructions on how to make bookings.

Until the new online booking system goes live, players should continue to use our current booking system.

If you have any questions please contact bookings@midsussex.gov.uk

Camomile at Lindfield Common

camomile flowersIf you’ve walked up Black Hill recently past Lindfield Common, you may have noticed that we have roped off a couple of areas of grass and marked them with blue hearts. These hearts denote Blue Campaign meadows, which we have been trialling over the summer in a number of our parks. The aim is to enhance biodiversity and re-wild Britain by encouraging native wild flowers and attracting more insects, birds, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles.

As the summer came to an end, we gave our Blue Campaign meadows elsewhere a cut and removed the signage, but an eagle-eyed local botanist let us know that she had spotted some camomile patches flowering at Lindfield Common. When we heard this exciting news, we acted quickly to ensure that our mowers kept out of these areas by roping them off and marking them with blue hearts. We have now decided to relax the mowing here this autumn so that we can all enjoy these rare wildflowers. 

Camomile's daisy-like flowers have feathery green leaves which are highly fragrant when crushed (some say apple-scented), which is why, in Tudor times, the Elizabethans loved to grow camomile lawns. Commercially the flowers are also used for tea, shampoo and poultices and traditionally camomile has been used medicinally to treat colds and as an anti-inflammatory and a calming agent.

Play area and outdoor gym update

Play area and outdoor gym updateWe’ve now opened 57 play areas and 11 outdoor gyms at prominent locations right across Mid Sussex.

Each play area has been fully risk assessed and deep cleaned before reopening. The play equipment will be cleaned every week and we have provided clear signage at the entrance to each playground with guidance on how to use the play area safely.

You can find a full list of every play area that’s open on our website at www.midsussex.gov.uk/coronavirus-community-support/coronavirus-community-support/

We have 123 play areas in Mid Sussex, more than double the amount in neighbouring areas, and it would be extremely expensive to reopen them all.

The cleaning and safety measures required by the Government to ensure playgrounds can reopen safely have come at a significant cost to the taxpayer. It would cost more than £220,000 per year to regularly clean the equipment in every playground and make each area safe.

With this in mind, we have taken the difficult decision to leave the remaining playgrounds closed until Government guidance is relaxed. We have opened all our most popular playground sites and collectively they offer a wide range of play options for children of all ages.
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