Let’s buy the Belfry: a chance to change Redhill for the better

Redhill’s Belfry Shopping Centre is up for sale. I wrote to the Council Leader, Cllr Vic Broad, proposing that the Council should buy it. I’d be interested to hear residents’ views on this – please get in touch and let me know what you think.

This is what I said:

Dear Vic,

We understand that the Belfry Shopping Centre in Redhill is for sale.

We hope you share our excitement at this tremendous opportunity to add value to Redhill. The benefits that could be gained from the Council buying this key asset, in the heart of Redhill and close to a very important transport hub, through its new Property Company, would help kick start the investment campaign showing long term commitment to the town centre. The asking price of approx. £43 million is relatively small in the overall scheme of the Borough’s asset acquisition campaign and, once in Council ownership, the opportunities to enhance the asset through further investment will really help make Redhill a more attractive town centre, complementing the adjacent scheme proposed at Marketfield Way.

The purchase of this asset offers the potential for better use of parking space, room to provide more leisure, housing and community uses and also to extend the development platform to include linkages to property on the south side of Cromwell Road. Such changes will further increase the vibrancy of the town centre and would increase its social benefits as well as providing returns on investment.

As you know, in our response to the recent DMP consultation we promoted town centre density as a key component in housing development in the borough. While we are disappointed that there is so far no affordable housing included in the developments proposed at Marketfield Way and permitted at Redhill Station car park and Liquid and Envy, we are glad that housing has been included and these developments would result in more people living in these town centre locations.

Creating more homes in and around our existing urban centres is key to keeping our town centres and community facilities alive, reducing needless car journeys, making our town centres truly family friendly (especially at night) and keeping the Green Belt open for our grandchildren.

Buying the Belfry therefore offers the Council’s new Property Investment Company a chance to demonstrate that aside from maximising returns on investment it can provide other opportunities to add value – creating affordable homes, jobs and a more prosperous and inclusive town centre from which the whole community can benefit .

I would like very much to discuss the opportunity with you and the Executive colleagues along with my colleague Councillor Essex as it is a once and for all chance to really change Redhill for the better.

Steve McKenna
Councillor, Redhill East

 

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