On the 2nd November the Sundridge Village Community Community land Trust held a public meeting to present the village regeneration plan. The meeting was held in person in Sundridge Church, on Zoom for people attending on-line and was recorded and released on the Sundridge.org website. In the Church 104 people attended together with a further 40+ people on line.
The Committee presented the scheme that had been developed over the last 3 years. The Sundridge Village Community Land Trust is a community organisation led by residents of Sundridge to develop the scheme for the benefit of the village and would only continue the scheme if it had support from the residents and CLT members connected with Sundridge village.
The Committee explained that there were constraints on the scheme because of the scale of community facilities and the minimum 50% affordable housing the CLT was committed to deliver. This meant that the number of residential units to make the scheme viable was broadly fixed. The village was asked if, as a community, we were prepared to accept a scheme of this scale to create these new community facilities.
The scheme comprised:
- 88 houses 50% affordable
- 16 senior living studios
- 6 artisan workshop units
- A sports pavilion
- A Village hall
- A Medical Centre
- A site for the school
Following the presentation the meeting opened to questions and comments from those attending in the Church.
Our villagers raised many concerns including the:
- scale of the scheme
- loss of green belt land
- site as it is a flood plain
- Traffic and access concerns
- impact of the development on the residents on Main Road
At the end of the meeting attendees were asked whether the Committee should continue to develop our proposals to submit to a formal vote of the members of the Community Land Trust prior to submitting the scheme for Planning Permission.
The meeting voted by a show of hands and opposed proceeding with the scheme by 29 votes to 20 votes in the Church. Further responses after the meeting did not demonstrate a majority of people in the village who supported the scheme and so the Sundridge Village Community Land Trust Limited will cease the scheme and close the company. The Committee will settle final invoices and return surplus funds to the grant bodies and donors. The Committee will notify the Members of the closure of the CLT.
The Committee are disappointed that we are unable to deliver this challenging scheme that we felt would allow us to seize this once in a generation opportunity to regenerate our village. However, we are a village organisation that committed to listen to our community and must respect this feedback.
To finish on an optimistic note, We have a fantastic community within Sundridge. We have many community groups who give their time and energy to making this a great place to live. Groups like The Parish Council, the Community Support Group, The Social Club, FundridgeSundridge, the Horticultural Club and the Church. All of these group’s have many volunteers giving their time, for no reward other than to support the village. We have different opinions but we all have a single objective to make our village a better place to live and so we will move on as friends and find common ground to solve the issues our village faces.
Chairman (retiring), Sundridge Village Community Land Trust Limited.