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PROGRESS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CULTURAL QUARTER

LATEST UPDATE dated 07/09/2018

***Boost to New Community & Performance Venue vision*** Burgess Hill Town Council has received two boosts to its plans to provide a new, flexible community and performance venue for the town.

Firstly, Dame Vera Lynn has agreed to be a Patron for the project, and, secondly, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has approved a £3 million loan (via the Public Works Loan Board) towards the cost of demolishing the existing Royal British Legion building in Cyprus Road and the construction of this new facility on the site.

The total cost of the project is £5 million and a professional fundraiser has been appointed to raise the extra £2 million needed. Greenwoods has been appointed project manager and quantity surveyor, and Aedas has been appointed architect for the project.

The design will be flexible to allow for a wide variety of use of the building. It will have retractable raked seating for 250 people so the hall can be used for performances as well as dances, banquets, conferences and other events. The building will also have meeting and rehearsal rooms, exhibition space, a café and a bar.

A planning application will be submitted in early 2019 and, depending on progress in raising the remaining funds, it is hoped the building will be completed in 2020.

 

PREVIOUS UPDATES

A revised funding plan for a Community Centre and Performing Arts Venue was approved by full Council in July 2018 this year (2018).  

The consultation earlier this year showed that residents are fully supportive of a new community centre and performing arts venue located in the middle of town. However, residents did not want to fund it through an increase in the council precept and the new funding plan reflects this with the council looking to fund the project through existing resources.

This result could have meant the cancelling of the project entirely but the council felt strongly that there must be such a facility to serve the current and future generations in the expanding Burgess Hill. Therefore, it literally went back to the drawing board with a renewed determination to provide a range of facilities for community groups, as well as a performance venue.

The outcome is a new proposal which offers community groups facilities for a range of uses, such as rehearsal space, foyer cafe, meeting rooms, kitchen, storage, dressing room, backstage showers, WCs, retractable seating to create open floor space for different style events including keep fit, dinner dances, presentations, talks and discussions. This community space is in addition to a performance arts venue with a stage, 300 capacity seating and full front of house and backstage facilities.

Whilst ’The Council’ originated this project and has financial and planning responsibilities for its creation, construction and future administration, it has, from the start, involved residents of Burgess Hill in making the vision a reality - and sooner rather than later.

To do this, the council created a Steering Group with eight members of the community who are representatives of community groups needing facilities, as well as current users of existing community premises. These residents are able to bring a range of relevant experience and skills to support the work of elected councillors. This combined effort means community associations, groups and clubs will have a specially designed and permanent centre for community use.

Of course, all this is not without cost but the financial strategy to be considered by the council includes a lower cost than previously by incrementally staging the project; an initial £3 million being raised via a loan from the Public Works Loan Board and a requirement to raise an additional £2 million through public fund-raising and sponsorship. This removes the need for an increase in council precept - so no need for residents of the Town to pay any extra tax to fund the community centre.

In addition, the council has made cost savings as a normal part of its operating budget; the effect of these cuts has been amplified by new and increasing revenue generated from hiring town hall facilities to outside and partner organisations.

 

OLDER COMMENTS

 

 

 HAVE YOUR SAYundefined

Residents have voted against the funding plan for the proposed new community and performance venue. The consultation closed on Friday 9 March. The project was dependent on securing a loan of £5 million and the Town Council required residents’ approval to apply for this core funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Although there was a substantial majority in favour of the project, the funding plan, which required an increase in residents' council tax and was incorporated into the council tax charge for 2018/19, was rejected meaning the Town Council would be unable to apply for the £5million loan.  The venue monies raised through the 2018/19 council tax rise will be reversed in the 2018/20 budget and credited back to residents.

 

FULL CONSULTATION RESULTS:

TOTAL VOTES: 2,286 (appox 8%)

IN REGARD TO THE PROJECT GOING AHEAD

TOTAL IN FAVOUR: 1,563 (68.4%)

TOTAL NOT IN FAVOUR: 721 (31.6%)

TOTAL "no answer": 2

MAJORITY IN FAVOUR: 841

IN REGARD TO AGREEING TO THE INCREASE IN COUNCIL TAX TO PARTIALLY FUND THE PROJECT

TOTAL IN FAVOUR: 1,134 (49.6%)

TOTAL NOT IN FAVOUR: 1,147 (50.2%)

TOTAL "no answer": 5

MAJORITY NOT IN FAVOUR: 13

SPOILT VOTES (NOT INCLUDED IN THE ABOVE FIGURES): 195

 

Past Communications

Check out the FAQs, there's a lot of information here that may help you >>

 

In response to community demand (read the full facts here), a group of community representatives and Town Councillors are developing a project to create a new, flexible community and performing arts centre. A centre that is fit for Burgess Hill’s needs in the 21st Century and compliments the other venues around the town. You can view the consultation images here or download full presentation here.

The new community and performance venue is estimated to cost £6.9 million to build and Burgess Hill Town Council is planning to raise this money through a combination of developer contributions, fundraising, grants, Council reserves and a loan via the Public Works Loan Board.

The project is dependent on securing a loan of £5 million and we need your approval to apply for this core funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The loan of £5 million will be at a preferential fixed rate of interest and repaid over a period of up to 50 years with annual loan repayments, including interest, of around £190,000.

These repayments will be funded through Burgess Hill Town Council’s element of the Council Tax (Precept budget). The overall increase in the Town Council’s Council Tax will be 9.9% in 2018/19 and 7.7% in 2019/20 and is the equivalent to an increase in cost to residents, for a Band D property, of £7.03 in 2018/19 with a further increase of around £5.97 in 2019/20. The total increase over the 2 years equates to £13.00, of which, £11.87 will go towards the repayment of the loan.

These rises, in total, equate to just over £1 per month and will remain for the period of the loan.

DO YOU SUPPORT THE FUNDING PLAN FOR THE NEW COMMUNITY AND PERFORMANCE VENUE?

HAVE YOUR SAY by completing the  OR by downloading and printing a PDF copy (to post, email to newperformancevenue.gov.uk or deliver in person) OR via the A4 flyer delivered to your home .  CONSULTATION ENDS 9TH MARCH 2018

PLEASE NOTE, DUPLICATE VOTES FROM THE SAME PERSON WILL NOT BE COUNTED.

IF YOU REGISTERED YOUR VIEWS AT THE CONSULTATION IN NOVEMBER 2017, YOU WILL NEED STILL TO COMPLETE THIS QUESTIONNAIRE.

This data will be collated by Burgess Hill Town Council and will be reviewed only in the context of developing a performance venue and will not be shared with any other parties. A summary of all views from all respondents will be shared with the Ministery of House, Communities and Local Government in regard to seeking loan approval. Your data will only be kept for the length of time the project is in development.

 

 


PAST COMMUNICATIONS
 

 

NEW COMMUNITY & PERFORMANCE VENUE

It was great to see so many residents attend the public consultation sessions at St John's Church on Thursday 23rd November 2017. The presentation by Colliers International and the Town Council explained proposed plans for a new flexible community and performance venue in Burgess Hill. The public consultation provided an opportunity to ask questions and give feedback, however if you were unable to attend the sessions you can still have your say by emailing NewPerformanceVenue@burgesshill.gov.uk.  You can view the consultation images here or download full presentation here.  A wooden model of the proposed venue is in the Town Council's Help Point.
 
Cultural Quarter (shown in blue)
 
The BackgroundCultural Quarter (shown in blue)

As promised at the last Annual Town Meeting held in April 2017, an action group of community representatives and town council Members is getting on with the job of developing the Burgess Hill Cultural Quarter, as outlined in the Neighbourhood Plan.

Central to this is the creation of a new, flexible community and performing arts centre. A centre that is fit for the Town’s needs in the 21st Century and fits with the other venues around the town in providing Burgess Hill with a complete range of sites that are suitable for just about every local need.

Both the studies completed by the Town Council and the remonstrations of residents make it clear there is strong support for a such a centre in Burgess Hill.

At the April Annual Town Meeting, David Clarke, head of DCA Consulting, further demonstrated the desire for a new community arts facility in the town centre.
Importantly, he went on to outline the cost of building and sustaining it.

Following the report from DCA Consulting, a site for the new centre, covering the footprint of the Royal British Legion (RBL) Building in Cyprus Road and Cyprus Hall has been identified. Whilst the RBL Building would need to be demolished to facilitate the new centre, it is almost certain the Cyprus Hall facility can be maintained intact, enveloped in an exciting new complex. 

The Current Situation

Building on the work done by DCA Consulting, the project to develop the new community and performing arts centre now enters a new and exciting stage, one that will: -

1. Confirm how much it will cost.

2. Determine its likely internal and external architecture.

3. Establish the engineering and technology that will be used to manage the building and make it flexible enough for multiple uses well into the future.

To answer these questions the action group has, after a careful selection process, enlisted the professional help of Colliers International, who have an impressive list of achievements in this field, including the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool and Storyhouse in Chester.

Together with Colliers, to ensure we get things right at this stage, we want to gather as much feedback as we can across Burgess Hill, not just from key potential user groups but from every member of our community in Burgess Hill.  No matter how old or young you are, please tell us what would you like from a new town centre venue and how would you like to see it delivered?
 
 
The Future                                   

As the project for Burgess Hill’s New Community and Performance Centre progresses, we will keep you updated via this website and the Town Council's social media:

 

 

 

 

To have your say, there will be an open forum at St John’s Church, Burgess Hill on Thursday 23rd November 2017. The forum will be divided into three sessions as detailed below:

11.00 am to 12.30 pm, 

4.30 pm to 6.00 pm 

7.30 pm to 9.00 pm
 
There is no need to book, just arrive for the beginning of a session which will comprise of a presentation followed by opportunities for questions and discussion.

You can also give us your views and ideas by emailing us at NewPerformanceVenue@burgesshill.gov.uk