As a former member of the Wong Working Group, the local attitude will be the land is the town’s and bequeathed to the town during government re-organisation.
I personally believe these and other arguments have been exhausted and, as the site is registered on the Land Registry in favour of ELDC, in my opinion, this alone settles ownership and we need to move on.
The approach by the majority of the WWG could and would not accept this fact and their attitude has meant no progress has been made over many years.
The WWG has now been surpassed by the Town Council.
I fully support the registration of the site as a brown field site and agree a small proportion should be for residential.
However, I also believe that consideration should be given to two-storey self contained offices for sale or to rent to create employment and stimulate the commercial market.
The site divides itself into three sectors. Residential on the Wong Road frontage. This would also apply to commercial offices, with their own designated car parking bays.
The central part of the site for a properly laid out free car park, with landscaping, which could be used for one off fairs, markets or outdoor public assembly.
The balance of the site, nearest to Stanhope Hall, laid out as a small park, with seating.
It is my belief that a design brief needs to be produced by ELDC to allow a development appraisal to be produced by potential developers.
I would also advocate that the building designs are brought into the 21st century to make the site of modern architectural interest.
Richard Barker, dip arch, birm, RIBA