Theatre gets the green light
3rd May 2019
THE Conservative-run Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have had their controversial £90million theatre approved, but have paid a heavy price for pressing ahead with the project, taking losses in the local elections.
The Planning Inspectorate confirmed the council’s use of Compulsory Purchase Orders [CPOs] on Friday, effectively giving a green light to the Calverley Square project.
The council had been involved in an embittered row with department store Hoopers over the use of its car park to service the theatre and town hall development.
However, the Planning Inspectorate, who held an inquiry into the council’s use of CPOs in February, released the outcome of his findings, just after the local election results were announced.
Planning Inspector, Graham Dudley, said: “I have taken into consideration the adverse effects that the development will have as identified in the decision above, including in terms of human rights and equalities of the statutory objectors, but consider overall that the development will contribute significantly to the achievement of the promotion and improvement of the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area.
“Therefore, on balance there are strong planning justifications for the use of the Compulsory Purchase Order powers to implement the redevelopment scheme so that I consider that there is a compelling case in the public interest; I therefore confirm the Compulsory Purchase Order.”
It will be cold comfort to both council leader, David Jukes, and Cabinet member for Economic Development and Communication, Tracy Moore, the council's two main champions of the project, who have both lost their seats in the council chamber following disastrous local election results for the Conservative Party.