In response to the mounting pressure about the sale and redevelopment of Wealden’s former offices in Crowborough, yesterday the Council posted a new web page on their site to try and address some of the common questions being asked.
The move is the latest step in what is becoming a tactical battle to win the hearts and minds of the public.
On the website, Wealden District Council say claims over 200 car parking spaces will be lost are unfounded. They claim the 82 space Mead House car park is underused, and other spaces were for dedicated use of council employees. The Council have previously said they are looking at trying to adjust the Croft Road car park to increase the number of spaces, which may include using some of the Bluebell Wood to create additional spaces by the recycling point.
Wealden also say it is unrealistic to think building on the site next to the community centre will disrupt accessibility or jeopardise the centre’s viability.
Wealden say they are committed to maintain a library at Crowborough whatever the outcome of the sale. If the development from Bouygues goes ahead, it will also include a new public library on the ground floor of the retirement facility.
The council say the building is currently costing £110,000 a year in business rates and upkeep. The Council has said on numerous times that they have “a duty to realise this asset on behalf of the people of Wealden.”
The Crowborough Community Association (CCA) have submitted a planning application to convert the former offices into an Enterprise Hub. So far over 120 comments have been received from Crowborough residents supporting their application and expressing concern about what might happen if the site was sold to a developer. Under planning law, you do not need to own a building or land to submit a planning application.
Wealden District Council have repeatedly said they have not received a bid from the CCA to buy the site. This is hotly disputed, and this morning Cllr David Larkin, Wealden Councillor for Crowborough East and a Director of the CCA, told CrowboroughLife they have the proof they have put in an offer to buy Pine Grove, and he will send a copy of the acknowledgement letter from WDC.
It is understood negotiations continue with Bouygues to build an Extra Care facility on the site for elderly people. However, to date no planning application has been submitted by Bouygues.
You can view and comment on the planning application for the Enterprise Hub on Wealden District Council’s website (you must first accept the disclaimer – Application Number: WD/2014/2422/F): www.planning.wealden.gov.uk.
A Parish Meeting has been called for Monday 12th January at 7.30pm at the Community Centre, for residents to find-out more about the fight to oppose the sale to Bouygues UK or any other developer.
— CCA (@Hub4Crowborough) December 11, 2014
You can read the full Q&A on Wealden’s website.