Crafton Green House: Should it stay or go? Public consulted on future of former council offices in Stansted
Public consultation has begun that will determine whether Crafton Green House in Stansted is bulldozed to make way for car parking or leased out.
Villagers have until November 30 to let the parish council know their views on its future, including whether they would be prepared to help fund its repair and upkeep and what alternative purpose it could serve.
The former council offices in Crafton Green, off the top of Chapel Hill, made way for the new Mountfitchet Exchange community hub, which cost taxpayers £1.2m. The council is now left with "two liabilities" – the old offices, which have fallen into disrepair, and a day centre that also needs updating.
In its consultation document, Stansted Parish Council claims knocking down Crafton Green House would enable a 60% increase in parking, with the aid of a one-off grant from Uttlesford District Council to make it happen. Money could then be spent on updating the day centre.
One resident believes the council has only one vision for the building – to knock it down. Ros Page also accused it of making minimum effort to publicise the consultation, with a small notice in The Link magazine and a Facebook post.
"There seems no appetite for making sure this building can be put into community use, even though it was bought with community money," she said. "I think their consultation document has been written very clearly from the point of view that demolition is the only option."
"But once the bulldozers turn up, the building will be gone. It feels like the council is gambling not just a building, but all the services and activities that could go on in that building in the hope that they'll get money out of car parking in the future."
Ms Page said that she was a trustee of a charity that was formerly interested in leasing the old offices, but with that no longer an option her frustration now was that "the rest of the village is completely oblivious".
"I can't help feeling that rather than taking an option that is best for the community, it's so much easier to accept a grant to turn it into a car park and then get some money out of it."
Public comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.