Community supports plans to buy Northiam animal shelter

The Blue Cross animal rehoming centre in Northiam closed in October SUS-150617-131452001
The Blue Cross animal rehoming centre in Northiam closed in October SUS-150617-131452001

More than 100 villagers came to hear about a parish council’s plans to buy land occupied by a former animal shelter in Northiam.

Northiam Parish Council wants to purchase the Blue Cross rehoming centre in St Francis Fields for community-use after it closed in October.

The council held a public meeting at the village hall on Thursday, November 24, to gauge the public’s opinion on what could be done with the land.

Council chairman Peter Sargent said visitors were overwhelmingly in support of their bid to buy the site which was bequeathed to Blue Cross 50 years ago.

“The response has been very good, it’s certainly got a lot of support within the village which is good,” he said.

“From the council’s point of view, we can look at how we would fund it, but until Blue Cross puts it on the market, we won’t know how much they would be looking for so we can’t rush into fundraising yet.

“The meeting was about getting support to take it to the next step so we’re ready for when that happens.”

At the meeting, Surrey and Sussex Association of Local Councils chief executive Trevor Leggo explained the process and legal implications of applying for a government loan, and Cllr Sargent led a discussion on the suggestions so far.

The council has many ideas for the land should they acquire it, including modest affordable housing, a woodland cemetery, offices for local businesses and restoring the equine facilities.

Blue Cross is bound by strict rules surrounding asset sales meaning the council cannot make a deal until it goes on the market, which is anticipated to be in the spring.

Cllr Sargent said they want to retain the site as it is in the heart of Northiam and should be kept in the community.

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