Hundreds of residents have objected to plans to create a children’s activity centre in Sedlescombe.
PGL has applied to Rother District Council to build the new facility at the Pestalozzi site in the village.
Pestalozzi has operated out of its Ladybird Lane base for the past 60 years.
But due to a lack of funding, last year the charity reached the difficult decision to sell off the 138-acre site.
Two petitions from residents objecting to PGL’s plans have been submitted to Rother, one signed by 17 people and the other signed by more than 70. Scores of others have also objected.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England’s Sussex branch wrote to the council outlining its objections.
A letter from Stephen Hardy, trustee, said: “The proposal represents what we consider to be a ‘major development’ in the AONB. The proposal does not fit with the Sedlescombe Neighbourhood Plan which relates to a principle of the preservation of the International Village, rather than the concept of a children’s holiday venture.”
The Environment Agency has also voiced its objections.
In a letter to the planning authority, it said the scheme would affect great crested newts and their habitat and may have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the species. The great crested newt is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
A design and access statement provided by Avison Young, on behalf of PGL, said: “In connection with the use of Pestalozzi as a residential training centre for young people, there has been a history of activities and events at the site; indeed, PGL operated a summer programme at the site a number of years ago with similar activities taking place up to the present day.
“Due to increasing demand for these adventure holidays PGL are looking across the UK for new sites, particularly in the South East, to accommodate this need, of which the Pestalozzi International Village site with its established use as a residential training centre for young people, represents an ideal opportunity.
“Various national tourism, health and sport strategies highlight the importance of the tourism industry to the UK economy, as well as the importance of providing accessible opportunities for children to stay active, have regular physical activity and improve their physical and mental health.”
To comment on the application visit www.rother.gov.uk, click on Online Applications, Decisions and Appeals and search under application number RR/2019/1659/PP.
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