21 OCT 2015

MP polls 2000 Cranbrook residents about Community Hub

Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant has stepped up the pressure in the fight for Cranbrook's new Community Hub.

She has personally written to almost 2000 local households asking for their views and comments on the value of preserving the unoccupied buildings off Stone Street, or allowing their demolition to make way for two projects; a town centre regeneration scheme and a new Community Hub.

A new purpose-built Community Hub in the centre of town could be built upon land donated to the Parish Council by a private individual. But the viability of the Hub project is dependent upon infrastructure funded by an adjacent mixed-use development in the derelict Cranbrook Engineering site off Stone Street, owned by the same person. The two projects go hand in hand.

To enable their regeneration project to proceed the developers have submitted an application to demolish the buildings on the Cranbrook Engineering site, save for one Grade II listed structure. An application and a subsequent appeal to Historic England for the listing of other buildings on the site was rejected earlier this year.

The demolition application goes before the Planning Committee on 11th November 2015, who must then take a decision about what is more important to the community; the preservation of the existing buildings or the benefits that a regenerated town centre and new Community Hub could provide the residents and traders of Cranrbook.

Helen Grant MP said: "I have worked with Councillor Seán Holden and others on this campaign for 7 years and there has always been strong local support for a modern purpose built replacement for the Council Offices that were demolished in 2011. Those I have met who are opposed I could count on one hand."

"I am therefore asking the people of Cranbrook to confirm in writing what they have told me over the years and I will convey that to TWBC in no uncertain terms. I am determined that the voice of the majority of the people from Cranbrook shall be heard on this matter."

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