The Conservative councillors who’ve battled to develop the multi-million pound project to demolish the Royal Victoria Hall and build a “new heart” for Southborough say they are determined to push ahead with their plans despite continuing opposition.
Earlier this week, a key statutory consultee, Sport England, said it was making an “outright objection” due to the loss of soccer pitches in the Ridgewaye playing fields. This could lead to the government quashing the scheme whatever the Tunbridge Wells planning committee decides in a few weeks time.
In comments on Friday to Southborough News, the Hub’s project leader at Southborough Town Council, Glenn Lester, said: “Sport England have a default setting of objecting to the loss of any open space, but we believe that the benefits out way the loss. There is always a compromise.”
Mr Lester believes the planners will be ‘mindful’ of the objection but ultimately will take a ‘common sense’ approach and give the go-ahead.
Mr Lester also referred to some of the other objectors who have made their feelings known in the past week: “This is purely a left wing political attempt to scupper Southborough’s future for its own political gain. The cost of which will be borne by the residents of Southborough for years to come.”
85 per cent of public comments appearing on the Tunbridge Wells planning website are from people objecting to the scheme. As of Monday morning (3rd October 2016), there were 148 public objections, compared with only 26 messages of support. But Mr Lester still believes the silent majority of people in Southborough are supporting him.
You can study all the public comments on this blog in a much more easy to read format than on the Tunbridge Wells planning website. See:
Mr Lester continued: “When we live with a dilapidated hall, Council offices, no football pavilion and a doctors that is not fit for modern local medical provision and an outdated Library and our High Street dead through lack of a new vibrant heart, we will just have to look no further than the Labour Group in Southborough for the reasons why.”