Fears St Leonards community centre could close

West St Leonards Community Centre. SUS-141127-125043001
West St Leonards Community Centre. SUS-141127-125043001

Fears have been raised a community centre could close.

West St Leonards Community Centre in Bexhill Road and the land it occupies is up for sale.

Eve Montgomery, from West St Leonards and Maze Hill Liberal Democrats, said: “Two large estate agent’s boards have appeared advertising the site for sale by informal tender. The closing date for bids is February 24.

“East Sussex County Council (ESCC) owns the land and its Property Disposals Policy Principles state one of the key principles underpinning the management of all property assets is to ‘work in partnership and empower our communities’. I spoke to the chairman of West St Leonards Community Association and the first they knew of the disposal was when they saw the estate agent’s boards. It is an utter disgrace the centre is being treated as an after-thought by ESCC. It is an important provider of much-needed services to the community. The fear is if it is bought by a developer it may close.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “The trustees of West St Leonards Community Association, who have a lease on part of the site until later this year, were approached and advised of the council’s activity in November and again in December.

“Last year, AmicusHorizon withdrew its proposal to develop the site, which covers the Bexhill Road land and the former playing fields, and create an extra care scheme. Since that time, the county council has been approached by a number of groups and organisations and a formal proposal to acquire the Bexhill Road section of the site was submitted to the council at the end of 2016. The council is subject to a number of statutory obligations to ensure best value and is unable to accept offers without carrying out a thorough assessment.

“We will continue to update the trustees on the progress of this work.”

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