Mid Sussex District Council is working in partnership with Thornfield Properties to promote a number of major town centre developments. The first of these to take a significant step forward is East Grinstead where a town centre masterplan has now been adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document.
The partnership is unusual in that it commits MSDC to work with Thornfield for a period of 20 years on a range of development opportunities. Their involvement also includes a significant input to SPDs for each of the District's three major centres, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill.
George Barnes, a partner at Donaldsons who advised the Council on the partnership agreement, commented, 'This is a unique form of partnership which makes significant resources from the private sector available to the Council. It has assisted in the production of some visionary masterplans in a relatively short period of time, which will lead to a major rejuvenation of the three towns as well as a number of other much needed developments'.
The East Grinstead SPD was a particular challenge, given the need to inject significant commercial development into a town dating back to the 13th century which is famous for having one of the longest stretches of listed buildings in Britain, classified as outstanding in 1979.
The Council worked closely with Thornfield, Urban Initiatives and Donaldsons to arrive at a masterplan which will promote a new retail and residential-led development, focussed around a new town square, which will blend seamlessly into the historic structure of the town.
Thornfield, with architects Allies and Morrison, are now working up detailed proposals which will be unveiled towards the middle of 2007. The Council expects to adopt further masterplans for Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill within the next few months.