This is to advise The Lodge consultation is still open until end of February 2015. We’d like to encourage those who haven’t yet done so to complete EcoLocal’s online consultation questionnaire to have a say about the future of The Lodge.
In September 2011 the Council’s Carshalton Local Committee agreed that it would like to see The Lodge (off Honeywood Walk) and The Grove (House) buildings used respectively by Eco-Local and a voluntary sector partnership. Since then both groups have been working up their proposals for taking over these buildings.
Eco-Local has undertaken a feasibility study for The Lodge which includes offices, teaching classroom, communal meeting facilities, residential, storage and workshops. Eco-Local are developing their plans further, including a survey of the building, intending to agree terms and conditions and submit a planning application during the first half of 2015.
Eco Local has just finished consulting local groups on their plans. We understand that over 350 responses were received and 97% were enthusiastic about EcoLocal’s plans for the Lodge. Ecolocal is a well-respected local environmental charity and commands much local support.
Eco Local also gave a presentation on their plans to the January 2015 meeting of the Council’s Carshalton Local Committee, and residents also expressed their continued interest there.
It was therefore surprising to Hamish, Alan and Jill as local councillors that the opposition Conservative councillors attacked the idea of The Lodge being taken over by EcoLocal when asking questions at the meeting of the Full Council on Monday, 19th January 2014. One Conservative councillor suggested that The Lodge should be sold at market rate to realise a profit for the council. This suggestion was roundly rejected at the Carshalton Local Committee held in September 2011 where the clear majority of residents wanted The Lodge to be leased to EcoLocal. The same Conservative councillor also suggested The Lodge should be sold to ease the housing shortage with affordable housing for rent on the site. He clearly did not know that The Lodge was within The Grove Park Management Plan boundaries, that it was in the high profile Carshalton Village Conservation Area and that it was an historic building. This sort of proposal is just not suitable for a green parkland area next to Carshalton Ponds, for a conservation area (where planning is tightly controlled), and would destroy the building’s historic past.
Hamish, Alan and Jill will continue to support EcoLocal’s takeover of The Lodge from the Council on a lease from the Council. This is the same business model being used for the successful bidder for the Charles Cryer Theatre. The Sutton Theatres Trust is taking over the Charles Cryer and Secombe Theatres on a lease from the council, and like EcoLocal will pay rent to the council. The opposition Conservatives have pledged support for the theatres takeover, but it seems not for EcoLocal.