Clair Hall Closure decision Withdrawn after Council Challenged in High Court
Great News! In a dramatic turn of events Mid Sussex District Council agreed in the High Court on Tuesday to withdraw the decision of the Cabinet to permanently close Clair Hall. The Council was taken to court by Haywards Heath CIC, supported by the Save Clair Hall campaign group and 'it's Magic', who challenged the decision on the grounds that the Council was unlawful in not consulting in accordance with legal requirements and the rules in MSDC's own constitution.
Before the case was heard the Council conceded defeat and came to an agreement with Haywards Heath CIC. In return for Haywards Heath CIC dropping the case, the Council made a formal undertaking to withdraw the Cabinet decision to permanently close the Hall. Additionally, Haywards Heath CIC was entitled to its costs in bringing the case, although it has only claimed a proportion of them so as to relieve the public purse of the full burden.
This is extremely good news for all of us who care about Clair Hall and the importance of community facilities to the wellbeing of us all. Once the epidemic is over we look forward to meetings, performances, blood donations and many other activities returning to Clair Hall until a modern, equivalent community venue is available. Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in getting us to this point. However, this is not yet the end of the story.
The closure decision has been withdrawn but the post-CoVid future of Clair Hall is still not certain. We hope that the consultation programme the Council is now required to put in place and the dialogue with community groups bears fruit and that a solid future for community venues in the area can be secured. A group of users of Clair Hall and Martlets Hall in Burgess Hill have launched a crowdfunding appeal to help ensure this. Liberal Democrat councillors will be working hard to ensure that the Council plays its part.