Extension to Southgate conservation area appeal splits council chamber

A challenge to a council cabinet decision against extending a conservation zone in Southgate was lost.

The Mayor of Crawley, Cllr Bob Burgess (Con, Three Bridges), cast the deciding vote not to designate East Park, the northern part of Malthouse Road and Newlands Road conservation status.

Councillors voted 17 in favour and 17 against the call at a packed council meeting on Wednesday (December 18).

Cllr Michael Jones (Lab, Bewbush), who called the decision for debate, said: “I don’t feel that the odd house or two, which may not be as well maintained, should be used to punish the rest of the area which is just as attractive and as historic as anything currently within the existing zone.

“It is our ultimate decision as councillors to decide what is deserving as a conservation zone, exercising our own fair observations of an area. The cabinet have never appeared to take this point on board.”

Cllr Howard Bloom (Con, Southgate) distributed flyers headed ‘Stop Press’ which highlighted the loss of development rights faced by residents if the extension to the conservation status was granted.

He said: “My conscience is clear now. My main concern was that people in that area may not have known that this was being called in.

“The problem with this conservation area is that unlike the others ones the officers told us it didn’t meet the requirements.”

Michael Pickett, chairman of Southgate Conservation Advisory Committee, said after the meeting: “What we are left with is worth preserving because if that goes then there’s not going to be much left of what was the old Crawley. It would lose its character.”

Councillors voted not to approve the Crawley 2030 local plan for submission.

The plan will be reconsidered in the new year and go back to a future meeting of the full council.

Cllr Burgess cast the deciding vote against all six amendments put forward to the local plan.

He voted to keep a reserved traveller’s site at Broadfield Kennels in it.

Cllr Ian Irvine (Lab, Broadfield North) said: “It seems to me that this site was proposed just to get the plan approved by the inspectorate.”

A minute’s silence was held at the start of the meeting in memory of Nelson Mandela.




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