HAILSHAM: Council HQ plans given the go-ahead

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WEALDEN District Council’s £6.5 million refurbishment of its new single-site headquarters on Vicarage Lane has been given the green light.

The major scheme will see staff from the council’s Crowbourough office incorporated into its Hailsham site, which will become Wealden’s new hub.

Refurbishment on the Vicarage Lane building is expected to be completed by autumn 2012. Temporary office accommodation will be provided for Hailsham staff in Eastbourne and at Pine Grove while the refurbishment takes place.

Councillor Robin Kempe, the Mayor of Hailsham, spoke in favour of the application at Wealden’s planning committee south meeting on February 3, saying it would be “a tremendous benefit to the residents of Hailsham”.

He said it would secure some much-needed improvements to the community hall, which will also act as a council chamber when needed by Wealden District Council. The refurbished offices will create a focal point in the centre of the town, he added.

The cost of the refurbishment will be met from capital receipts and cash balances held by the council.

“There will be at no additional cost to the council tax payer. It will have paid for itself in savings in less than 18 years,” said a council spokesman.

Leader Cllr Bob Standley said the move to a single site will cut the council’s overheads and save council taxpayers more than £370,000 each year.

“The move from Crowborough will also enable the site there to lead the regeneration of the town,” he said.

“Part of that regeneration is the new community centre, on which work has recently begun, on land provided by the district council,” he added.   

Planning committee south also asked for a review of the Hailsham’s future car parking provision to be carried out, including the ratio between long-term and short-term parking.