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London to Brighton Car Run

By Liz Bennett, Clerk Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council

Tuesday, 8 November 2022


Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council Contributor


Response to complaints re the Marquee on the common 6-11-2022

There has been a lot of misinformation circulated around the village regarding the erection of a Marquee on the common for the London to Brighton vintage car rally.

In September, the parish council were approached by the Hegarty insurance company, via the RAC, to hold a vintage car exhibition on the common and erect a 20m Long marquee to serve tea and biscuits to Hegarty’s clients. As time went on the RAC pulled out and this just left Hegarty’s and the marquee.

I asked some local residents about the marquee that used to be sited by Tanyard lane, but was told that it would not be there. Bearing in mind that every year we have a fete with a beer tent and several food suppliers, and this was just tea and biscuits to clients, I thought that it would be acceptable and bring tourists and income to the village. Indeed Hegarty’s published a note on their website, for their customers, which suggested that if their clients were in search of food and drink, they should go to the Tanners, the Victory or the Red Lion. At no point was it suggested that they would sell Food, drink or anything else.

The parish council approved the erection of the marquee by the war memorial at the parish council meeting on October the seventeenth, item 14. This was on the published agenda and there was nothing secretive or underhand about this. Agendas and minutes are all published on the noticeboards and on the Parish Council website at and residents are welcome to attend any of our meetings.

On Friday the fourth the marquee company arrived and decided to place the marquee in a different place to that originally agreed. I arrived around 11 am and suggested that they move it to a drier spot, but there are no drier spots. I persuaded them to move the marquee further east, nearer the pavilion, so as not to interfere with the view of the race from the Victory and they started to do this.

As it turned out, Hegarty’s decided not to erect the marquee on the muddy ground and with the terrible weather forecast and the vociferous complaints from locals, they decided to pull out.

During all these proceedings I had a chat with the Hegartys rep and suggested that they might want to consider putting together a vintage car exhibition on the common in August, when everything would be drier. We could have a Staplefield Fete 2 and bring tourists to the village, raise more money for local charities and support the local pubs. We will follow it up and see what happens.

The parish council is very supportive of the community in Staplefield and with the village population dropping and a pub for sale, all we wanted to do was to encourage visitors and bring more income into the village. We have a wonderful, perfect, English village here and we should make better use of it for all our benefits. If we have annoyed anyone, we are sorry, but please be assured this was done with best interests of the Staplefield community and businesses in mind. “

Bob Birthwright

Vice chair Ansty and Staplefield parish Council

Contact Information

Liz Bennett, Clerk

  • 07437 703411

Find Ansty and Staplefield Parish Council

Ansty, Haywards Heath, West Sussex