New youth centre for Forest Row

PLANS TO build a new youth and community centre in Forest Row have received the thumbs up from planners.

The scheme would see a new building at the back of the existing village green on Hartfield Road.

It would comprise a cafe, youth centre and dance studio, social welfare office inside with a multi-use games area, skate park, seating, fitness trail and exercise equipment outside.

Council officers say the scheme will affect the amount of open space and see some trees lost. But on the plus side they say it will deliver a ‘comprehensive modern community facility’ which doesn’t exist in the village.

Five letters were received from local residents who objected to the scheme saying parking and access were poor, the building would be too big, there is a lack of need, it will cost too much and could even take business away from existing facilities.

Regarding the latter point, planners point to the Wealden Open Space Study which favours provision for children and teenagers and the development of parks.

They also say the design of the building would ‘appropriately reflect the shape, height and massing of surrounding buildings and parking woulds mainly be in the evening when local car parks are freed up.

They conclude this is the only available site that can accommodate a community centre inside the village’s development boundary.