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.