A meeting of the Full Council has been called for next Thursday to discuss the purchase of Pine Grove.
In February, Crowborough Town Council agreed to submit buy the former Wealden District Council offices to convert them into an Enterprise Hub. Since then, a public consultation has been held and an application has been approved to been made to borrow money from the Public Works Loans Board.
For reasons of commercial sensitivity it has not been revealed how much Crowborough Town Council offered to pay for the building and other assets, but authority was granted to borrow up to £2.65 million to purchase and convert the building.
Now to bring the matter to a conclusion, Wealden District Council is asking the two parties wanting to buy the building (Bouygues and the Town Council) to submit their “best and final offers” by 22nd June. Although planning permission has been granted to convert the building into an Enterprise Hub, Bouygues sill have to apply for permission to build extra care flats on the site.
Cllr Roy Galley, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Wealden District Council said:
Pine Grove would not be sold to the highest bidder; it will be sold at best value. That means that if a community use comes along with a slightly lower bid than a private or other bidder, then it would be possible for the council not to take the highest bid.
Many of the Town Councillors who supported the proposal to buy Pine Grove left the Council in May. Next week’s meeting will be the first chance for the public to find-out whether the new representatives back the scheme.
The extraordinary meeting on Thursday 18th June at 7.30pm will discuss whether the Town Council want to increase their offer to buy the building from Wealden District Council. Also included in the deal is the transfer of the freehold for the Crowborough Community Centre and the freehold for Bluebell Wood. The meeting will also decide whether to authorise the Town Clerk to spend up to £10,000 on professional fees connected with the purchase.
Although the public can attend the meeting and can ask questions at the start, it is expected they will be asked to leave the Council Chamber during large sections because of the discussion of confidential financial matters. Click on the following link to download the agenda: www.crowboroughtowncouncil.gov.uk/council.