Celebrating Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th Birthday On Mid Downs Radio

Mid Downs RadioTo celebrate Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday on Monday 20th March 2017 Mid Downs Radio (MDR) based at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, will be broadcasting a special birthday greetings message throughout the day which will include messages from St Peter and St James Hospice (Dame Vera is Honorary President of the Hospice), The Princess Royal Hospital League of Friends (She is President of LOF), the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) and from Mid Downs Radio. The greetings will also contain famous Vera Lynn songs.

MDR will also be rebroadcasting Wendy Swinton Eagle’s (MDR Vice Chairman) interview with Dame Vera which took place on 28 February 2012. The ‘Spotlight’ programme can be heard at 9am and be repeated at 5pm on 20 March 2017

MDR can be heard in the wards, waiting rooms and public areas within the PRH and locally on 1350AM or through our website www.mdr.org.uk via the pink ‘listen live’ button

Mid Downs Radio is run entirely by unpaid volunteers and broadcasts music and entertainment 24hours a day/7days a week in addition to providing wide ranging information on health and social care issues within the PRH and to the wider local community


APPROVED! Premier Inn Granted Permission For Hotel In Haywards Heath

premier inn haywards heath

The Premier Inn have been granted planning permission for an 80 bed hotel and restaurant on Perrymount Road next to Clair Hall in Haywards Heath. It will create 30 new jobs.

The decision was made at this afternoon’s district planning committee meeting at Mid Sussex District Council.

Perrymount House – currently occupied by London Colonial Services LTD – will be demolished to facilitate the construction.

perrymount house

District Council Seek To Purchase Orchards Shopping Centre in Haywards Heath

Huge news coming out of Mid Sussex District Council for HHU have learnt that the council seek to make the sensational purchase of the Orchards Shopping Centre in Haywards Heath.

orchards shopping centre haywards heath

With less money filtering down from central government to ‘wealthier’ local authorities, MSDC are looking to become financially self-sufficient and see the Orchards as a potential source of steady income.

The purchase of the head lease from Friends Provident Life would not come without risks. The main one being low occupancy rates within the centre. The long-term future of Marks and Spencer is always in doubt, it would be a huge loss of rent if they disappear. Also, with Waitrose due to open in Spring 2017 next to the train station, what sort of impact might that have on the town centre and specifically M&S’s food department?

The council are to discuss the potential purchase of the Orchards at their cabinet meeting on Monday 17th October at 16:00.

If they agree to put in a bid, the purchase could be wrapped up before the next meeting of the full district council on November 2nd.

orchards shopping centre

The report on the MSDC website says:

Merging the Council’s interests will bring added value to the investment portfolio, and allow the Council to attract investment funding into the Centre to provide an improved retail and leisure offer and bring new shops and restaurants in to the town.

Our retail advisor has offered an initial opinion as to how the shopping and leisure offer could develop were further investment available. This is consistent with the Town Centre Masterplan that was adopted in 2005 which proposed improvements to the ‘shopping quarter’ (pages 38/39). This should be read in conjunction with the Haywards Heath Neighbourhood Plan which is going through the process to being adopted.

This would be a significant purchase for the Council. We will need a full forecast of the revenue and capital cashflows in financing the purchase and how to structure that over the short, medium and long term.

To that end, we have engaged professional services companies to report on the purchase and the bidding process. We would utilise both these companies to help prepare our bid and assist with the negotiations which would almost certainly be necessary.

This report presents no risk however were the actions recommended to reach fruition, the report would present a full risk log. Some factors to be considered are future rent defaults, loss of key tenants and town centre geographic drift. Mitigation is therefore available for all of these risks but Members should not expect there to be no surprises when self-managing a shopping centre.

Town Council To Introduce A Community Warden – With The Power To Arrest

haywards heath community warden

A Community Warden could soon be whizzing around the streets of Haywards Heath Town Centre on a Segway, this through a partnership between the Town Council, Sussex Police, and the Southern Co-Operative.

The possible introduction of a Community Warden comes off the back of changes to the way that Sussex Police operate in the county. The number of PCSOs have been cut and they are no longer designated to set towns.

What The Warden Can Do:
The Warden will have policing powers, including the arrest of suspected criminals and the ability to report incidents quickly into the Police crimes database – helping local business and residents to log their issues and incidents.

The Community Warden will be fully accountable to Haywards Heath Town Council. It is they who will set the areas of work for the Warden. Early proposals include:

  • Monitor local open spaces for signs of anti-social behaviour – Victoria Park, Victoria Skate Park, Clair Park, Beech Hurst Gardens
  • Monitor and assist with reporting business-related crime in South Road, Sussex Road, The Broadway and Commercial Square.
  • Work with Sussex Police to address issues that are identified through crime reporting and statistics.
  • To undertake work on identified  projects in all of the town’s wards as directed by the town council.

The Cost:
In the year one pilot, the Warden would cost £36k (without a vehicle) The fee would be met through funding from the following organisations:
£16,500 from Sussex PCC
£10,000 from HHTC
£10,000 from the Southern Co-Operative.

In year two, the contribution from Sussex Police would be halved, meaning that council tax  for Haywards Heath residents would need to rise by 6% to enable to Warden to remain.

In year three, Sussex Police do not make any financial contribution at all, meaning that council tax would need to increase by a further 3%,  a total rise of 9% over two years.

The Warden will be fully trained and equipped by ‘SWL Security’, a company used by the Southern Co-Operative.

What’s Happening Now?
At the meeting of the full town council on July 18th, members agreed unanimously to the following:

  1. The scope of duties, personal specification and monitoring arrangements for a Community Warden and gave the Clerk delegated authority to amend the documents when necessary.
  2. Ratify the Policy and Finance Committee’s recommendation to introduce a Community Warden for Haywards and allocated £10,000 of unrestricted funds towards the Pilot project.
  3. Delegate authority to the Clerk to enter into legal agreements and funding arrangements with the Co-operative, Sussex Police and SWL security, if and when appropriate, on behalf of the Town Council.
  4. To delegate the ability to amend the scope of work of the Warden to the Town Clerk.

Download The Report
The full details around the proposed introduction of a Community Warden in Haywards Heath are available in a report on the HHTC website which can be downloaded here: http://www.haywardsheath.gov.uk/controls/DownloadDocument.ashx?docID=wi3326KITTSNMWGIIL5648cDxz&aID=4958.

*Secret* Garden Party To Take Place In Victoria Park This Friday

If you’ve been in Victoria Park, Haywards Heath this week, then you may have noticed a group of teenagers armed with gardening equipment in and around the steps leading up to the Plantation area. They are 16-17 year-olds taking part in a 4-week course run by NCS (National Citizen Service) and Groundwork South.

The course culminates in a community project, with the youngsters choosing to carry out clearance work at the plantation area of the park, wishing to make it into a more usable area for young people and families.


This has involved removing dense foliage around the trees and completely clearing alway all the overgrowth by the steps which leads up to this secluded area. They’ve also been clearing the footpath too.


Here’s a helpful diagram for those of you who don’t know of the Plantation’s Location!

Secret Garden Party
The result of their hard work will be unveiled with a Free Secret Garden Party that’s taking place this Friday (19th August) from 12:30pm-3:30pm. Local businesses are helping to provide food, with donations coming from Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, with cakes supplied by Victoria Park’s very own Tory’s Cafe. There’s also scheduled to be music along with other fun and games. There’s a Facebook Event page if you seek to know more: https://www.facebook.com/events/1588076278152825/

These young people have been working really hard all week in the sweltering heat, and it would be brilliant to see lots of members of the community turning out to enjoy their efforts and to congratulate them for all that they’ve achieved. See you there!


Ed Bliss with the wonderful sandwich board created to help advertise the event

Secret Garden Party Victoria Park

Video: Drone Footage Over Haywards Heath

Hunters Estate Agents have uploaded an exciting new video on YouTube featuring footage of Haywards Heath shot using a drone (or by a very tall person)

haywards heath drone video

The video features prominent locations such a Victoria Park, Clair Park, Hanbury Park Stadium, and Haywards Heath Train Station – providing a great view of the development work currently taking place.

You can see the video here:

HHU do not have a commercial relationship with Hunters. We’ve shared the video as we think it’s rather interesting!

By-Election Called As Haywards Heath Councillor Resigns!

Cllr Jacqui Hollister Resigns

A by-election has been called in Haywards Heath after Cllr Jacqui Hollister resigned from her seat on the town council as representative of  Franklands Ward.

Cllr Hollister was elected in May 2015, collecting 1,296 votes in the ward, joining fellow Conservatives – Rod Clarke (1,426 votes) & Michael Pulfer (1,102 votes) as the Franklands Ward councillors on the town council where all 15 seats were occupied by the blue brand.

Could  a representative of another party, or an independent candidate be the cat among the pigeons?

Stand For Election
The candidates for the by-election have yet to be determined and any registered elector in Mid Sussex is eligible for nomination. Local residents have until 4pm on Friday 1 July 2016 to submit candidate nominations.

Information about being a Councillor is available from the Council’s website www.midsussex.gov.uk. Additional guidance about being an election candidate and the various election procedures is available online from the Electoral Commission at www.electoralcommission.org.uk.

Register To Vote
The deadline for new voter registration applications is Midnight on Monday 12 July 2016 and the deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Tuesday 13 July 2016.

If you have any questions regarding registration or the electoral process then please contact the Mid Sussex District Council Electoral Services team on 01444 477003 or email elections@midsussex.gov.uk.

BBC Radio Sussex Expose Victoria Park Rat Problem

Mid Sussex District Council Rat Exposure

The BBC Radio Sussex Breakfast show was all about the rats in Haywards Heath this morning. Their roving reporter Simon Jenkins was live in Victoria Park. It’s amazing how the council leapt into action as a result.

During the show Simon spoke to a pest control expert who explained that Victoria Park is perfect for rats, what with a plentiful water supply from the splash pad and all the take-away leftovers in the bins.  Many local residents called up the show to speak to breakfast show host Neil Pringle about their experiences in the park and an audio package  recorded at the weekend in Victoria Park featuring interiews with local residents was also aired.

In a Tweet, Simon Jenkins showed the extent of the litter problem in the park…

Later in the show, Pru Moore – cabinet member for leisure and sustainability was interviewed in the park, she made lots of weak excuses.

Highlights of the show can be heard on the Sound Cloud player below:

Trying To Make Sense Of The Council’s Lack Of Action
So, up until this morning, Mid Sussex District Council claimed they’d received no complaints about rats in the children’s play area of Victoria Park. They also said that they’d sent out a rat patrol team and found no evidence of rodents present (How did they know to send people out looking if they knew nothing of a rat issue?)

Apparently the water in the splash pad is checked 4 times a day and there are no issues with it either.

As for the rubbish, Cllr Moore claims they can’t provide a 24/7 litter picking service and that the public should be taking their litter home!  If there’s a problem with litter, then why aren’t more bins provided in the summer months if they can’t empty the existing ones promptly enough?

We know that MSDC check the Facebook pages related to the towns in the area. Councillors themselves are on the Haywards Heath Uncovered Page. There can be no excuse for their ignorance and inactivity

As for the council’s own rat patrol failing to find anything, why was a radio reporter able to find burrows within minutes of arriving on the scene whereas the ‘experts’ failed?

Photographic Proof!!!
On Facebook, local resident Penny Curzon posted the following pictures of rats she saw at Victoria Park over the weekend when she visited with her grandchildren….

rats in victoria park

Shortly after 12pm today, the BBC Sussex Facebook Page posted the following image…

Haywards Heath Splash Pad Closed

Closed for maintenance or because the water is carrying diseases?!