Future of Clair Hall consultation: Haywards Heath Town Council agrees response

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Haywards Heath Town Council has agreed a formal response to the Future of Clair Hall consultation.

This response was agreed at a meeting of the Town Council on September 2.

The Mid Sussex District Council’s public engagement initiative closes on September 22.

Visit engage.midsussex.gov.uk/clair-hall to find out more.

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Haywards Heath town mayor Howard Mundin. Picture: Steve Robards, SR2107053.Haywards Heath town mayor Howard Mundin. Picture: Steve Robards, SR2107053.
Haywards Heath town mayor Howard Mundin. Picture: Steve Robards, SR2107053.

Town mayor Howard Mundin said: “I welcome the Town Council’s response, which not only answers the questions posed by the independent consultation, but firmly states the Town Council’s wish that Clair Hall be reprovisioned in the form of a new, aspirational fit for purpose, future-proofed and sustainable building, while safeguarding the existing facilities at Clair Hall through a clear, binding commitment from Mid Sussex District Council of how, where and when they will replace it.”

Mr Mundin thanked the residents who helped the Town Council make the response.

The response states that the uses supported by Clair Hall should be based on a ‘multi-functional building set-up’ that can provide: a theatre and cinema, a studio and rehearsal space for performing arts, exhibition space for artists, conferencing facilities, youth activity facilities, and food and drink facilities.

The response added that all of this should be in a new, state-of-the-art building, which is built in an environmentally friendly manner.

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It also suggested services to ‘complement the night-time and weekend offer’, which could include: shared office space, small gym pods and a specialised gym, moving the Town Council and Library to the site, or moving Cricket Club facilities into the building.

See the response at www.haywardsheath.gov.uk.

Conservatives on Haywards Heath Town Council received some crictism from Mid Sussex Liberal Democrats after the September 2 meeting.

The Lib Dems said the town council Conservatives voted in contravention of one of their key policies.

They said the council’s formal policy on Clair Hall, specified in the Haywards Heath Neighbourhood Plan, says ‘development resulting in the loss of Clair Hall while the facility remains needed’ should be resisted unless there is ‘re-provision of an equivalent or better facility’ in the town.

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But they said the town council’s consultation submission stated Clair Hall ‘should be retained with minimum functionality and minimum expenditure’, meaning it would be, in effect, ‘mothballed’.

A Lib Dem spokesperson said: “Liberal Democrat Councillors Richard Bates and Stephanie Inglesfield put forward a motion that this sentence should be removed but all Conservative councillors present, some of whom also sit on MSDC, voted the motion down.”