Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Burgess Hill's Cinema Will Be Knocked Down

The Orion Cinema in Burgess Hill is not long for this world. Soon it will disappear (probably)

Since Cllr Gary Marsh broke the news that Mid Sussex District Council have been in talks with Sainsbury regarding the land at Cyprus Road Car Park, not a single councillor has come forward to calm the fears that the Burgess Hill residents could be about to lose one of its very few prized entertainment venues.

We have many newly elected councillors, you'd have thought they'd jump at the opportunity to prove their worth to the local community by vowing to do all they can to try and stop the cinema being knocked down. The Save the Orion Cinema Facebook Page has over 2,500 members, it wouldn't take much effort for a councillor to join up and post a message on the wall.

Why haven't they come forward? Perhaps its already a done deal and thus they don't want to come out in support of the people, knowing whatever they say will be in vein. Additionally, with the council being very blue, it would be unwise for fellow Conservatives to rock the boat by speaking against their own party.

The general consensus seems to be that Burgess Hill does not need another supermarket. So why are talks with Sainsbury taking place? How is it in the public interest? We elect councillors to serve us, to speak up for us. Seemingly this is not happening.

Worryingly, some people on Facebook seem to think that the Orion can just refuse to sell. If only it were that simple!

Since MSDC own the land, they could make a very attractive financial offer for the Orion to give up their lease, and as we know, money does talk. If the Orion do refuse, then MSDC can probably envoke some sort of compulsary purchase order. A number of Facebook group members have shared their observations that the Cinema is quite empty during their visits, others have pointed out that they've not visited the venue in years. Its these comments that make it seem that a financial payoff could be happily accepted. That is unless Mr Orion Cinema is very rich.

What grates the most is how Cllr Gary Marsh from Balcombe is involved in talks regarding the future of Burgess Hill. What should he care if the cinema disappears? He doesn't live in the town.
When the issues are town specific, it should be the town councils that have the final ruling, and NOT MSDC.

All in all, its a confusing time for local residents, the lack of news isn't helping. Cllr Marsh drops a bombshell, yet no follow-up to explain the state of play, and silence from the councillors that should be fighting our corner.

Maybe there is nothing to worry about at all. I doubt it.

Get your Nectar cards ready.


Anonymous said...

You know nothing, the deal HAS been done.

Anonymous said...

Which councillors have been contacted so far? And what was their response?

Burgess Hill Webteam said...


Burgess Hill Webteam said...

Councillors in 2011 should be internet savvy, they should be keeping us informed on such major issues. There are comment facilities on blogs, internet news pages and on Facebook. NOTHING from any councillor so far. I wonder why.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that they should be internet savvy, but that's not the same thing. I thought the campaign had an online petition that emailed the district councillors? Have they ignored the mails? Plus there are 2500 'likes' on the FB page. I doubt that there would be zero response if all those 2500 folks emailed them!

Burgess Hill Webteam said...

The Mid Sussex Times letters page is usually a good way of getting a message out. Many memebers of the public have had letters published in recent weeks about the cinema, but no replies from councillors.

Could it be anymore obvious which way this is heading?

Anonymous said...

Cllrs Gary Marsh;Pru Moore, Denis Jonea and Graham Knight have been receiving the online petition.
There is a strategic reason for objecting to the cinema as it is not in accordance with the 2006 Masterplan for Burgess Hill. In that document Cyprus Road Car park is earmarked for town houses and apartments. IF another supermarket is needed (and that is a question of retail economics) then I do not believe that Cyprus Road is the right location for it.