Clair Hall latest: campaign group to submit comprehensive proposal for site to Mid Sussex District Council

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A Haywards Heath campaign group is preparing to submit a comprehensive proposal for the future of Clair Hall to Mid Sussex District Council.

The Save Clair Hall Campaign said they are ‘delighted’ to prepare more detailed plan to complement the outline proposal they sent to the council on September 8.

MSDC said it is asking groups to submit proposals ‘with all background financial and technical information’ by November 27.

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A Save Clair Hall spokesperson said: “The group’s plans for a vibrant and sustainable Clair Hall include a theatre, cinema, studio and exhibition spaces, function rooms and a café and bar area. A community charitable organisation would be formed, and this would employ a professional team to manage the refurbishment and to operate Clair Hall. The group is looking forward to discuss this exciting proposal with the council.”

An artist's impression of Save Clair Hall's proposal for the Haywards Heath siteAn artist's impression of Save Clair Hall's proposal for the Haywards Heath site
An artist's impression of Save Clair Hall's proposal for the Haywards Heath site

The group’s outline vision for Clair Hall is at clairhall.org. The group is still preparing a full proposal but the outline suggests setting up a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) to refurbish the existing building. It said that, as a charity, the CIO has access to ‘significant funds which would be unavailable to commercial operators’. The outline proposal added that the council could retain the ultimate ownership of Clair Hall.

Louise Duffield, director of Resources and Organisational Development, MSDC, said: “The future of the Clair Hall site is really important to our community, and there is a potential opportunity to deliver something significant for generations to come. We are therefore committed to taking the time to explore every option carefully, including those from community groups.”

She said: “We need to ensure any proposal that we progress is financially and legally sound, operationally viable, and delivers against the desired outcomes for the long-term future of the Clair Hall site. However we recognise that a community group may not have the resources and expertise to put together a bid which details all this information. We will therefore be establishing an independent technical panel that will review the proposals and invite community groups to meet with them for a roundtable discussion.”

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She said this discussion would be carried out with the politically balanced Executive Steering Group in attendance. The bids, the technical panel’s outcome and Executive Steering Group’s recommendations would then be presented to the cabinet.

Proposals can be submitted to [email protected].