To consider and decide on the recommendations as set out in the associated report.
RESOLVED – That Full Council be recommended that the Asset Management Plan 2023/24 be adopted
REASON FOR DECISION: The Plan supports the Council’s Corporate Priorities in the Five-Year Plan.
County Councillor Sarah Hamilton had registered to speak which included the following:
- The Wesley Centre should be listed under the category of Community (as the Day centre was).
- It was both surprising and concerning that the Wesley Centre faced the risk of potential disposal.
- It was protected on the Towns Neighbourhood Plan which the Borough Council had not challenged.
- Facilities and access to green space were needed in Paddock Wood.
- It had been an inspiration of Heritage Paddock Wood to protect the Wesley Centre for the benefit of the local area.
- The Community Store House was a valuable tenant. The Paddock Wood Community Advice Centre was also nearby so the location was ideal and sustainable.
- It was important to find a viable way to keep this historic building and allow it to continue to serve the community.
- Cabinet should remove the Wesley Centre from any risk of disposal at this time or in the near future. It should instead look to explore, develop and exploit opportunities for collaborative working with other bodies including KCC and partner agencies to build on existing relationships and facilitate an viable opportunity.
Katharine Ridger had registered to speak which included the following:
- The 4th Paddock Wood Brownies currently met every Wednesday at the Wesley Centre.
- They had been using the Wesley Centre for a number of years and it had proved an ideal location with no safe guarding risks. The gates locked which allowed the Brownies to play freely outside. Storage was also ample.
- The new Community Centre had been considered but the risks would be much higher. The toilets were out of view of the hall, so an adult would have to accompany each time. There was also no secure play area.
- Any plans for disposal should be urgently reconsidered.
Jeremy Thompson had registered to speak which included the following:
- Heritage Paddock Wood rented a small room at the Wesley Centre which was used to store and display some of their large archive collection of photos and other items.
- It was important that this historical building was not lost to further housing developments
- Heritage Paddock Wood was building a website that would showcase the history of Paddock Wood and the surrounding villages.
- Heritage Paddock Wood were keen to work with TWBC to establish a satellite to the Amelia Scott. This would include the remodelling of the garden to enhance it as a safe green space in the heart of the town.
- Green spaces were essential to the health and wellbeing of residents.
- The Wesley Centre was protected on the Town’s Neighbourhood Plan and on the Local Plan, so why was it included on the list?
- The consultation had not finished at the time this issue was discussed.
- Had the Council written to all the users and tenants of the Wesley Centre.
- The Wesley Centre was not a surplus asset.
- Paddock Wood ... view the full minutes text for item 112
To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.
Councillor Matthew Bailey had registered to speak which included the following:
- The decision by the administration to declare the Wesley Centre in Paddock as surplus asset and to consider it for sale or development.
- The Wesley Centre was a historic building and was still widely used by children, youth and adult community groups and would be a big loss to these groups if it were no longer there.
- The Wesley Centre was one of only two Council owned community facilities in Paddock Wood, the other being the Day Centre on Commercial Road which was very small.
- The loss of the Wesley Centre would reduce the ability to properly manage the current needs of the town and future needs as the town expanded.
- There existed a small green space behind the Wesley Centre which the Council had previously considered for possible residential development.
- This was not the appropriate time to sell off a small piece of Council land for housing, given the amount of greenspace already being lost in the area.
- The provision for new housing was already unpopular in the area, and the loss of more greenspace in the town would further despair the local community.
- Paddock Wood Town Council and the Borough Councillors for Paddock Wood were opposed to the selling of the Wesley Centre or developing the land to the rear of the building. This position was also backed by Heritage Wood and by many local residents.
- It was understood that the Town Council had today written to the Portfolio Holder and further correspondence would be received in due course.
David Candlin, Head of Economic Development and Property, introduced the report as set out in the agenda.
- The Asset Management Plan (AMP) was still out to consultation, with a closing date of 9 February 2023. Verbal updates of the responses received would be given to both the CAB and at Cabinet. Full details would be submitted for Full Council.
- To give an update of the responses received to date:
o 85 people had read the AMP, of which 44 had left comments.
o 7 comments were related to car parks in Tunbridge Wells.
o 1 comment on the Civic Complex
o 3 comments on the Council’s disposal policy
o 33 comments on an asset in Paddock Wood
o All comments rested on assets not being disposed.
Discussion and questions from Members included the following:
- Under the section titled ‘Assets Declared Surplus 2023/24’ the wording to be amended to read ‘The following assets have been declared surplus and identified for potential/possible disposal in 2023/24’.
- Although the AMP was still out to consultation, it was possible to make a recommendation to Full Council, as the assets would still be reviewed before any decisions were taken.
- The AMP gave details of the procedures and mechanisms in place where assets were being considered for disposal. This included the Property Asset Oversight Panel which it was hoped would be ... view the full minutes text for item 75