Burgess Hill could be '˜split in half' by boundary changes

Burgess Hill could be '˜split down the middle' if proposals by West Sussex County Council to change electoral boundaries go ahead.

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That’s the fear of local councillors who describe the proposals as ‘nonsense and unnecessary.’

They say it would mean moving Oakmeeds Community College and the town centre out of Burgess Hill into the Hassocks division.

The county council is to submit its proposed changes to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, which will make the final decision in May.

Burgess Hill councillor Ann Jones said the proposed changes “make no sense at all for the largest and fastest growing town in Mid Sussex.”

And she added: “The effect is on our town centre which will be split down the middle.”

Fellow Burgess Hill councillor Andrew Barrett-Miles said the proposals “would be totally bad” for the town and would see 3,500 residents moved out of the Burgess Hill division into Hurst and Hassocks village divisions where their needs, as minorities, could be overlooked.

The county council says it is proposing the changes so that each county councillor represents around the same number of voters.

But Andrew Barrett-Miles said: “Over the next 10 years there will be about 6,000 new houses built in and around Burgess Hill and, because of that, another boundary review will have to take place in 2024 which will almost certainly undo any change done now.

“It is unnecessary for Burgell Hill. It totally destroys community cohesion and representation. It’s not necessary and it’s premature.”

Opposition to the proposed changes is also being voiced by Burgess Hill Town Council, as well as Mid Sussex District Council and the town’s three main political parties, along with the Burgess Hill Town Centre Partnership.