THE BBC’S concerns on how construction of the Civic Complex will impact their studios are the ‘subject of discussions’, according to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC].
Last week a lawyer representing the broadcaster shared objections to aspects of plans to build a 1,200-seat theatre and council offices costing a gross £90million on land bordering Calverley Grounds,
Thaddaeus Jackson-Browne, of Lambert Smith Hampton, said noise and loss of car parking space, during the construction phase, had the potential to ‘jeopardise’ BBC Radio Kent and South East News – based on Mount Pleasant Road.
Sainsbury’s Local, also based in the Great Hall arcade, which backs onto Calverley Grounds has added its voice to the protests.
TWBC members voted by 30 to 13 in December to approve advanced plans for the complex and council leaders are now seeking planning permission. If it is granted this year construction could begin in 2019 and the complex could open in 2022.
As part of the process, the authority is required to allow local residents and businesses the chance to comment on plans before a decision is made.
Writing on the online consultation Sainsbury’s’ Transport Manager Matthew Lawes said: “The proposals remove the existing delivery solution and there is no provision of an alternative.”
His opposition was shared by department store Hoopers and Metro Property, who own The Great Hall, as well as the majority of comments from residents.
A major part of the BBC’s opposition was the temporary loss of car parking space.
Mr Jackson-Browne wrote: “The proposal to demolish the existing car park to make way for the development, with no alternative during the construction phase, is unviable and hugely harmful.”
The BBC negotiated parking with Metro and is understood to occupy around 26 spaces in The Great Hall car park although the corporation itself declined to say how many spaces it has been allocated. When a replacement car park is built it will provide 261 spaces, compared to the current 254.
A TWBC spokesman said: “This construction management plan sets out how the impact of the project will be addressed and it covers noise, vibration, dust etc.
“It directly refers to the BBC and their specific requirements.
“We will have discussions with the owners of Great Hall Arcade about alternative parking arrangements for their tenants.
“We know the BBC needs to charge their outside broadcast vehicles and this is something that will be taken in to consideration for the proposed scheme.”