Letter claims dismay JPK project backers

SUPPORTERS of the JPK Project have been sent anonymous letters by objectors accusing the charity of raising funds on the strength of misleading information.

The JPK Project, which has been fundraising in Eastbourne for many years, aims to provide a residential centre and work place for people with learning disabilities.

Jill Parker, project founder, is currently applying for planning permission to build the centre on the land occupied by Edgmond Church, in the High Street in Old Town.

Earlier this month, Eastbourne Borough Council met to discuss the plans but the matter was deferred due to a legal issue regarding parking on the site.

Since then JPK supporters have been sent letters, signed from a ‘concerned local resident’, from objectors.

The letters say, “It is a massive over development of the site, accommodation is cramped and there is no proper provision of leisure and socialising space for the residents.

“It is an inappropriate design in a conservation area, out of character and an eyesore.”

They also state a ‘complete loss of privacy’ and parking problems as concerns.

All the concerns laid out in the letter have been raised by residents within the planning consultation process but, the letter sent to supporters goes on to criticise the JPK Project.

The letter said, “It is clearly not a suitable site and will not attain the stated objectives of the charity which is raising funds on the strength of misleading information.”

Tim Dunford, a supporter of the charity who lives in Kent, was sent the letter and said,“Eastbourne residents have been wonderful supporters of the JPK Project over many years – it is disgraceful that ‘concerned local residents’ are twisting the facts about the planning application in an attempt to disguise his or her prejudices against disabled people.”

Julie Dunford, of the same address, appealed to the local residents to ‘ignore the few short sighted locals who cannot open their minds to the bigger picture’.

Jill Parker said, “The JPK planning process has been ongoing for several years, seeking the advice and the requirements of Eastbourne Borough Council planning department, including a full consultation with parents, carers, prospective service users and all the relevant neighbours.

“We could not have reached this stage in having the financial ability to purchase Edgmond Church without the support of the local community, generous donors and grant making trusts.

“None of this would have been feasible unless the JPK had provided the relevant business plan, feasibility study and budget cash flows.

“As a receiver of one of these letters I would have found it insulting that I was being accused of not having the intelligence to fully investigate the aims and objectives of the JPK, before I gave my support.

“I should like to opportunity to apologise to our supporters who have been targeted with this discriminatory correspondence and their not having the opportunity to respond.”