Residents have spoken of their anger against plans to demolish and replace a ‘much-loved’ community hall in the ‘heart of Nyewood’.
Plans were submitted to South Downs National Park (SDNP/18/05385/FUL) in October 2018 to demolish the existing Henry Warren village hall and build a new single storey hall, including associated vehicular access, car parking and landscaping on the land to the North East of Prestwood, Nyewood. Also included was a proposal to construct two, two-storey detached houses.
The application currently has 71 objections on the planning portal, with 69 letters/comments of support.
Speaking ‘on behalf of many residents of Nyewood’, Tom Everington said: “A group of trustees are proposing to demolish a much loved community hall in the heart Nyewood, opposite the playground at Furze Meadow, and build a new one on green fields on the very outskirts of the village and a long way from the playground.
“[This is] another example of the slow encroachment on our green and pleasant land by people completely ignoring the hopes and aspirations of the local community.
“Despite a petition signed by 69 of the 105 Nyewood households, and much community involvement, suggesting alternatives to keep the community hall in the heart of the village, the trustees have ploughed on regardless with their plan to demolish our hall in the centre of our hamlet.”
In the design and access statement, submitted by Kalotec Residential Development Solutions, said the purpose of the proposal was to provide a ‘suitable building and garden for community use’.
It added: “The existing building was the only community facility in the village, which has no church, school, pub or shop.
“The trust developed a renovation and expansion project for the existing hall but discovered that the building was structurally unsound. A structural engineering study found that it was technically feasible to deal with the structural problems but recommended full demolition and a new building as the best solution both financially and practically.”
However, Mr Everington feels that, during the ongoing battle, Nyewood has been ‘deprived of a perfectly good community hall’, which is still standing and ‘requires only minor repairs to put back into use’.
He added: “Access to the proposed new hall for most Nyewood residents is over unlit and incomplete pavements thus excluding the old, disabled, and families with young children.
“The proposed hall is a far larger footprint than required and unsuited to the needs of a small hamlet such as Nyewood. No community project should progress without the support of the whole community. The new hall proposal does not have this support.”
The matter will be discussed at a planning committee meeting at the South Downs Centre at 10am today (Thursday).