Work is progressing steadily on the Southborough Hub project in London Road.
The former town council offices, Royal Victoria Hall and toilet block have now been demolished, making way for the new community hub, containing a hall / theatre space, council offices, library and a café / bar.
A theatre consultant is advising on specialist elements and the Assembly Hall Theatre team at Tunbridge Wells is keen to take on the running of the new hall/theatre for a trial period of two years, working with Southborough Town Council to assess demand and long term sustainability. This will be the subject of a report to the borough council’s Cabinet in September, when a final decision will be made.
The Tesco site and the rear of the Lloyds bank land have been purchased by KCC. The Lloyds Bank building has been purchased by JVIP ltd who previously refurbished the Flying Dutchman Pub across the road.
The residential development which will help fund the whole development has been on the market and a purchaser has been selected. Negotiations are now under way and due diligence is being undertaken prior to finalising the sale.
The preferred housing developer, Crest Nicholson, and the hub architects are working closely together to ensure suitable landscaping between the hub and the houses. Plans for the 69 new homes will go on display at a public exhibition at Southborough Library, from 3-8pm on Tuesday, 27 June.
Meanwhile work is progressing on the detailed designs of the hub so the project can go out to tender for the construction of the facility.
Working with the football club, the project team continues to seek to secure Football Association grant funding for the pavilion. A bid for up to £500,000 is expected in July, subject to confirmation from the FA foundation on timelines.
Plans for incorporating St Andrew’s Medical Centre into the hub are also progressing. The NHS is seeking to include a number of additional services into the facility and architects are working to see if they can be accommodated while still meeting the proposed timelines.
The project team will enter into agreements for leases on the shop, café, football pavilion, community/theatre element and GP surgery before the contract to build the facility is signed.
County and Town councillor Peter Oakford, who continues to play a major role in the hub project, said: “We are extremely pleased with the progress we have made on the development so far.
“Residents need to make sure they have their say on the revised housing planning application as this will be the one that gets delivered and we want to get the best for Southborough.
“The Hub is also moving forward well and I am thankful to all the partners and groups who are supporting us in getting the final elements right.”
Further information about how members of the public can have their say on the planning application, including the exterior appearance of the building, will be announced in due course.