St Francis Hospital Museum Update 14.10.02 and 18.7.2003
I see that the Middy under the headline 'BUTCHER'S SHOP MUSEUM GETS THE CHOP' reports that local councillors have rejected the tiny building.
Under a legal planning agreement, Southdowns Developments, the company converting the former St Francis Hospital, is obliged to provide 60 sq metres for a museum to reflect the history of the old hospital, formerly the Sussex County Lunatic Asylum.
The company chose a former butcher's shop on the site and although district planning officers say it does meet the legal requirement, councillors are not happy. The planning committee says the building is unsuitable for a number of reasons, including disbaled access.
Southdown's Ivor Markovitz says 'We are currently considering our position.'
Museum Trustee Colin Manton says 'A museum has to be viewed functionally not as an arbitrary measurement. 60 metres would not allow the museum to function, would debar us from achieving grants and would not meet other requirements. The chapel would be ideal, would provide space for concerts and provide a community focus.' Mr Manton proceeded to outline the argument for a Haywards Heath Town Museum with St Francis included in the history.'
Southdowns Developments has allegedly offered a five figure sum to help set up a museum in Haywards Heath. Under a legal planning agreement it is obliged to provide 60 square metres for a museum to reflect the history of St Francis Hospital.
The stumbling block has been the amount of space quoted within the agreement. The Museum Trust wants more space for its exhibits and, speaking for the developer, Brian Markovitz says he believes residents are 'unanimous in their opposition to any museum being erected on the site.'
The Museum Trust chairman Lesley Wilkins said 'Last year we suggested a financial settlement in lieu of the 60 square metres to find saomewhere more appropriate off site in a more central location. I can now confirm we have been offered modest start up costs.'
The Middy understands that the figure of around £25,000 is the amount but the developer wouldn't confirm this.
It now appears that a cash settlement is the preferred option by both sides.
The Museum Trust hopes that any future museum will refelct not only the work of the hospital but also the wider history of Haywards Heath. JH