£1m sports hall plans delayed by Link Road

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THE Bexhill-Hastings Link Road plans have forced an unexpected delay in the £1million plan to build a sports hall at Robertsbridge Community College for school and community use.

Supporters of the scheme say the delay could cost the college an estimated £10,000 and mean the opening of the proposed new sports hall will be delayed until at least November.

Dicky Clymo, chairman of the Finance & Estates Committee of Robertsbridge Community College, said that issues generated by the Link Road have left the East Sussex County Council planning committee ‘swamped’.

He says this has caused a delay in the college’s quest for planning permission for the project, which in turn would delay building work.

This week Mr Clymo issued a personal appeal to six local residents to withdraw their objections to the proposals in a bid to speed up the planning process.

In a letter to objectors, Mr Clymo says that “a serious obstruction” has arisen over the proposals.

He said: “The Bexhill-Hastings Link Road has generated so many serious issues that the (East Sussex CC) Planning Committee is swamped.”

If the objections were to be withdrawn, planning officers would be able to make a decision on the plans and avoid the need for the proposals to be discussed by the planning committee.

However two residents have already indicated they will not be willing to withdraw their objections.

Some local residents fear the development would bring traffic disruption to the cul-de-sac leading to the college and that the hall could be used for parties and musical events.

However the college says the hall would not be used for such events.

Residents have also expressed concern at the procedure which means that East Sussex’s planning committee will rule on a planning application by another branch of the council.

Mr Clymo said in his letter to residents: “That ESCC is both the applicant and the decision maker is intrinsically unsatisfactory.

“In practice the education and planning departments are independent”

“It is a potential source of covert influence.”

Rupert Clubb, director of Economy, Transport and Environment for East Sussex County Council, said: “The reason this application is being heard by the planning committee is because there have been objections.

“These need to be considered properly and appropriately.

“It is not unusual for East Sussex County Council to be both the applicant and the decision maker – this is an established statutory procedure that is not controversial.

“The application is on the draft agenda for the next committee meeting on 20 March.”