Village youth club the latest asset to be sold

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Another piece of real estate and a community asset in Cuckfield is being sold off.

County councillors want to sell the village youth club building, which houses Cuckfield Pre-School Playgroup and provides a space for young people with learning difficulties.

Negotiations have been on-going with Cuckfield Parish Council for almost two years, according to WSCC, since youth services were withdrawn. But the authority is now pushing for the process to be completed quickly.

A WSCC spokesperson said: “Negotiations are continuing with various options being discussed. The valuation offered on the site is reflective of the market value and current situation, and the timescale is reflective of the requirement to complete the transfer by April 2014. In any final agreement consideration will be given to existing user groups of the facility.”

The news comes as Mid Sussex District Council faces huge opposition (see p13) to its proposed sale of the much-treasured Play Meadow in the village centre for a five-bedroomed detached house.

Parish Council chairman Nigel Page said it was trying to save the youth club building. He said: “However, in the past four weeks we have seen a significant push to dispose of the site faster and quicker than expected and one that concerns the parish council.

“This is a vital community asset which the Cuckfield Pre-School Playgroup, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, has used for 45 years. Orchard House, which cares for those with severe learning disabilities is also a regular user.

“Eighty-five per cent of respondents to Cuckfield’s Neighbourhood Plan want these services to continue with strong opposition to the redevelopment of this site for housing development.

“The building is in a poor state of repair and the parish council is committed to replacing it if allowed to do so by WSCC.”

Cuckfield Society says the building could be sold on the open market. On Facebook it says: “As many people will appreciate, this is not just a case of finding money for the land but also to maintain and very soon, replace the building which is nearing the end of its life. The Parish Council is applying to have the building listed as an “asset of community value” which will buy us time to come to a considered opinion on how we can maintain this building for the youth of the village.”