Dame Vera Lynn announced as patron of Burgess Hill arts venue project

Dame Vera Lynn on her 100th birthday
Dame Vera Lynn on her 100th birthday

Dame Vera Lynn has been announced as a patron of a Burgess Hill arts venue project.

Burgess Hill Town Council is looking to build an arts venue in the town to replace Martlets Hall, which closed on June 30.

It was announced earlier today that it had secured a £3million loan to pay for the venue.

Mrs Lynn, a long-standing Ditchling resident and national treasure, had previously said the closure of Martlets Hall was a ‘great loss to the community’.

She also said she ‘very much hoped a new versatile performing arts space would be built for the benefit of all the residents in the area’.

Pru Moore, leader of the town council, said she was ‘delighted’ about the news.

She added: “This is fantastic news for everyone who has supported our vision.”

A spokesman for the town council said: “Burgess Hill Town Council has received two boosts to its plans to provide a new flexible community and performance venue for the town.

“Firstly Dame Vera Lynn has agreed to be a patron for the project.

“Secondly the Public Works Loan Board has approved a £3million loan towards the cost of demolishing the existing Royal British Legion building in Cyprus Road and construction of this facility on the site.

“The total cost of the project is £5million and a professional fundraiser has been appointed to raise the extra £2million needed.

“Greenwoods has been appointed project manager and quantity surveyor and Aedas has been appointed architect for the project.

“The design will be flexible to allow for a wide variety of use of the building.

“It will have retractable raked seating for 250 people so the hall can be used for performances as well as dances, banquets, conferences and other events.

“The building will also have meeting and rehearsal rooms, exhibition space, a café and a bar.

“A planning application will be submitted in early 2019 and depending on progress in raising the remaining funds it is hoped the building will be completed in 2020.”