Pine Grove can be converted into an Enterprise Hub

This morning (Thursday 12th February) Wealden’s Planning Committee unanimously approved Crowborough Community Association’s application for change of use, enabling Pine Grove to be converted into an Enterprise Centre.

Wealden District Council Planning Meeting in Hailsham

Wealden District Council Planning Meeting in Hailsham

Afterwards in the reception area, Council Leader Bob Standley took questions from the campaigners, who had travelled down to Hailsham by coach for the meeting.

With jeers of being ‘anti-Crowborough’ and ‘it’s a stitch-up’, campaigners repeatedly questioned Cllr Standley as to why Wealden District Council granted preferred bidder status to Bouygues to build an extra care facility on the site.

Cllr Standley explained Wealden District Council will consider the recent bid from Crowborough Town Council to buy WDC’s former officers in Crowborough, but that at present their offer was subject to consultation with residents and securing finance. Cllr David Larkin pointed-out the rival bid from Bouygues was subject to them getting planning permission.

Under planning procedures, buildings can have any number of different planning consents approved.

The next hurdle will be the consultation with Crowborough residents about the Town Council taking-out a massive loan to buy the freehold and convert the building.  At the recent extra-ordinatory Town Council meeting, Councillors said they planned to write to households and hold public meetings about the increase in Council Tax for the project, to explain fully what they were proposing to do (read more here).

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3 comments on “Pine Grove can be converted into an Enterprise Hub
    • Planning applications are considered on their merits, having regard to the provisions of the development plan and any other material planning considerations. The site could have any number of approved planning applications, to accord with national planning policy and the Council’s adopted planning policies. Older ‘saved’ policies of the Local Plan carry weight when they are relevant and accord with the national policy. Therefore the site could considered favourably for an extra care scheme under current planning policy frameworks . Indeed, under the current permitted development rights, the Pine Grove offices could be converted to residential accommodation without any planning application being required (with mitigation for the Ashdown Forest being secured under the habitats regulations).”

  1. Wealden opposed PD rights for converting offices to residential – what hypocrisy! Anyway what is being proposed is demolition not conversion; no doubt as it makes the site more valuable for more flats. The development plan IS primarily the 1998 Local Plan which states clearly – development on this site for B1 offices ONLY. This is the current, up to date development plan policy, saved by the Core Strategy and bang in line with the ESCC Regional Growth Strategy, December 2014. How much more up to date do you want?

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