Row as Conservation Area bid is rejected

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Members of Crawley Borough Council’s Cabinet were branded “wilfully blind” after refusing to recommend parts of Southgate for Conservation Area status.

At a meeting at the town hall on Wednesday (December 4), members agreed East Park, the northern part of Malthouse Road and Newlands Road did not have enough historical or architectural value to warrant the designation.

The roads were put forward for consideration after the rest of Malthouse Road was granted the status in April.

Cllr Michael Jones (Lab, Bewbush) called in the decision for debate at the next full council meeting on Wednesday December 18 and added: “I think the council have been wilfully blind.”

A handful of residents gathered on Thursday to express their disappointment with the Cabinet’s decision.

Jesse Larner, 52, of West Street, vice-chair of the Southgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee, said an emergency meeting was being called to work on a response to the decision.

He added: “We feel the whole issue of heritage and protection of buildings within Crawley has been completely disregarded.”

The Cabinet meeting was told that, of the 113 homes in the area, only 13 responses to the council-led consultation were received – with eight in favour of the proposal. They dismissed a petition which had been circulated earlier by residents as “one-sided”.

The meeting was warned that, should CA status be given to roads which did not warrant it, the whole classification would be “degraded” and open the floodgates for similar applications elsewhere.

People who live in CAs must abide by tighter planning controls and have fewer development rights. Simple things such as putting up a satellite dish require permission.

Cllr Richard Burrett (Con, Pound Hill North) said: “It’s very clear that there isn’t a majority of residents in favour of the designation.

“If we were to go ahead on the basis of this consultation and designate this area as a Conservation Area, we could well find that a resident who was against it could take us to judicial review which could be very expensive to this council both in money and reputation.”




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