18th April 2019
Hoopers has become aware of considerable public interest in comments attributed to us concerning the proposals for a new Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. We are concerned that these comments may be being taken out of context and misinterpreted, and so it is important to us that we set the record straight.
The short point is that our opposition as described at the CPO inquiry remains unchanged. Our objection to the proposals is being maintained fully.
Hoopers’ position has always been in principle, support for the development of a new Theatre in the broad location proposed. We reiterated this position in our evidence and submissions to the recent CPO inquiry. But we have always been concerned about how the scheme is currently proposed to be delivered. The Council has advanced only one proposal for consideration. It would involve access across the Hoopers car park. This we consider to be unacceptable for the reasons we described in detail at the CPO inquiry – not least what we and our professional advisers identify as the health and safety risks to customers and staff. It is because of this that we objected to the planning application, objected to the CPO, and appeared with a full professional team objecting at the CPO inquiry.
It may well be that there are other ways for the Council to deliver the proposed scheme which would not have the harmful impacts on us that we have identified. We offered some suggestions at the inquiry as to what these might entail. But despite this the Council is still pressing ahead with just one solution, which we object to for the reasons given.
Our objection remains, unaltered, and will be considered and reported upon in due course by the Planning Inspector along with all the other objections made to the CPO.