Nine buildings in Cranbrook are to be demolished to allow the redevelopment of a ‘vermin-infested rotting eyesore’ site.
Members of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s planning committee last Wednesday voted to grant developers permission to knock down the derelict structures and carry out ‘retention and stabilisation’ of the remaining, listed, building.
Two of the structures had recently been classified as local heritage assets, but council planning officers said potential ‘substantial public benefits’ and ‘exceptional circumstances’ meant their removal should be allowed.
David Rivers, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the retaining of the two buildings had been ‘carefully’ considered but that it was a ‘complete non-runner’.
He added: “A fundamental decision needs to be taken on whether they’ll be replaced by a mixed-use development which will regenerate the town centre, or whether it should remain a vermin-infested rotting eyesore.”
MP Helen Grant had carried out a survey of constituents, which found nearly 95 per cent of respondents backed demolition in favour of redevelopment, which would include a community centre.
Other speakers and councillors raised concerns over the loss of the historic buildings and said the constituency survey was unreliable, but councilors voted to back the plans.