Residents invited to have say on Sunningdale Park's future

Published: 18 Jul 2013 09:300 comments

THE future of Sunningdale Park is up for discussion next week - and residents hope it will not be sold off exclusively for housing.

The Government-owned estate - which is now used as a training conference facility, hotel and wedding venue by De Vere Venues - could be sold in 2017 when the lease ends.

An information event takes place at the Evelyn Sharp Centre, within Sunningdale Park, between 4pm and 8pm on Friday (July 19), and from 11am to 3pm on Saturday (July 20) when people can say how they would like the site to be developed..

Margaret Morgan, co-chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Group, said she wants

residents to go along and air their views.

She said: "It is one of our strategic sites and one being used for jobs - maybe something to do with education. If there was a small amount of housing to fund this we could understand.

"Our real concern would be every part of the site being used for housing. It would not cope with the road system. I've been round the site and it's quite amazing.

"The Cabinet wants the site to be a legacy and I'm really pleased that they are consulting with the public and I hope the community will engage with them."

The site previously operated as the Civil Service College and later the National School of Government until March 2012. The landscaped grounds and parkland include a lake and Grade II listed Northcote House which was built in the 1930s.

It was the venue where the Sunningdale Agreement on power sharing in Northern Ireland was signed in 1973. But it could be sold off as the Government reviews its asset portfolio.

Niken Wresniwiro, from the Cabinet Office, said: "We want to hear feedback from people because we are looking to sell it.

"We're setting out for residents to look at what it could be and what they think.

"We are in consultation with councils and are looking at it from the historical and local importance it has.

"There are lots of options including residential housing or educational uses. It is about engagement with and hearing people."

Christine Gadd, chairman of Sunningdale Parish Council, said she will "wait until the consultation to see what they say".

She added: "It is a wonderful site and we need to see what would be feasible. It is about 79 acres and it's Green Belt in places.

"At the moment I don't have a personal view - it's about keeping options open to see what would be proposed."

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