Save Tunbridge Wells from the council's £70m civic complex before it's too late
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Tunbridge Wells Borough Council proposes to build a new theatre and council offices in and around Calverley Grounds. The plan will cost £70m+, leave the existing civic complex empty and will spoil a historic park.
The council's plans (available here http://www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/business/enterprise-and-regeneration/regeneration/civic-complex-development ) are ill-conceived and expose the town to huge risks:
1) The new development will built in and around Calverley Grounds with considerable potential for overshadowing park users.
2) Cost of £2.5m+ pa to service the debt and £500k pa theatre subsidy for an already cash-strapped council - are you prepared to pay increased council tax or cut local services to fund new council offices/theatre?
3) Result in the loss of the Great Hall and Mount Pleasant Avenue car parks with 300 spaces for the many years of construction - local businesses have expressed significant concern.
4) No parties have signed up to occupy the existing council offices and Assembly Hall, risking a second derelict site in the centre of town.
Please sign this petition to force the council to consider again the alternatives. The council's own consultants put forward a plan that would provide a similar-sized theatre on the current Assembly Hall site. This would deliver all the benefits of the proposed theatre, but at a fraction of the cost (£10m for a complete renovation and £25m for something similar to that proposed for Calverley Grounds). It would also preserve precious car parking in the centre of town, link the theatre with the new cultural hub to create an exciting cultural quarter and remove the risk of creating a second "old cinema site".
Reworking and renovating the existing civic buildings would be far greater value for money than the current proposal with significantly less disruption. Sign this petiition to force the council to drop its current plans and save Tunbridge Wells.
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