RESIDENTS of Burgess Hill have thrown out a proposed council tax hike by a wafer-thin margin.

A majority of less than one per cent put paid to the town council's plans to fund a new arts centre with public money.

The local authority sent out a flyer seeking public approval for a 17.6 per cent rise in its element of council tax lasting 50 years.

A controversial £65 million overhaul of the town centre will see a substantial retail park and residential development spring up on land previously occupied by facilities including the Martlets Hall arts centre.

Residents were asked to stump up an extra pound per month after funding from property developers failed to materialise.

But Burgess Hill Town Council announced at a press conference at 12am today (Monday) that 50.2 per cent of a turn-out of 2,286 had voted against footing the £6.9 million bill.

More to follow.