Conservatives Promise to Publish Business Plan as Demolition Continues

The winner of last week’s County Council election for the seat comprising Southborough says he is “acknowledging feedback from the community” regarding the lack of information about how the new Hub development will pay for itself.

Peter Oakford told Southborough News that “as soon as the commercial negotiations are complete”  he would request that the financial information will be made public.

Meanwhile, the demolition of the frontage of the old Southborough Town Council Offices has begun. (Pictures from today below)

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Peter Oakford, who won 42% of the vote sent this statement to Southborough News: “I think all candidates participated in a strong and active campaign  which provided local residents with a sound platform to make their voting decision. ”

He continued: “With the election behind us I can now return to the issues I have been working on with the officers of both TWBC & KCC and which formed part of my election manifesto –
* improving road safety for all users,  especially around our local schools,
* Seeking to improve the traffic flow,  air quality and the condition of our local roads, especially the A26,
* Completing the Southborough town centre hub development  – while also acknowledging feedback from the community regarding the financial information which I will be requesting to be made public as soon as the commercial negotiations are complete.

Mr Oakford’s statement ends: “While I would very much like to thank all those that voted for me on May 4th I have been elected to represent all local residents and will continue to do so to the best of my ability”.

The Royal Victoria Hall, which opened in 1900 and was described as Britain’s “first municipal theatre” still stands with its red brick walls in place, but the roof removed.

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It is set to be replaced with a combined hall, library, cafe and medical centre building in polycarbonate cladding (example of polycarbonate cladding in London shown below):

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At the election, the combined voting share of the opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat parties was 51%.  The defeated Liberal Democrat candidate, Marguerita Morton, told Southborough News: “Of course I am disappointed by the result.  However, if you add the votes cast for Lib Dems and Labour, both of us were against the Hub in our different ways, you would have a majority for not building the excessively expensive hub with the early demolition of the town hall and RVH.”

Ms Morton continued: “I was extremely shocked to see the business plan did not contain figures for future income or expenditure, for that matter. So, we may have the demolition of a town hall and cherished theatre building without a replacement.  That is unacceptable.”

In a statement on Facebook, the Labour candidate, Martin Betts, said: “I take heart from the fact that we nearly doubled and significantly increased the share of our vote and that I came second. In other words we bucked the national trend.”

Mr Betts continued: “We will continue to say that there must be much better engagement between councillors and the people of Southborough and High Brooms. We live here and we will enjoy or suffer the long term effects of any decisions that councillors make. We are not children. We expect to be involved in developing the town’s future, to know the total cost, and what we will be expected to pay year on year into the future. We do deserve better”.

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