Mole Valley

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Pippbrook House, Opportunities for the Future

Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) has been working closely with Community group, Community Hub in Pippbrook (CHiP) on plans for Pippbrook House to become a Community Hub.

CHiP's initial proposal has been shared with MVDC and it is considered sufficiently robust to pause work on the masterplan for the site whilst the business case is further developed.

Pippbrook site
Pippbrook site
Pippbrook site

Councillor Charles Yarwood, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Strategy and Assets, said: "Following the recent planned consultation on this site and consideration of subsequent feedback together with progress being made by CHiP, we are considering a new way forward.

"For the first time, we have a potentially robust and sustainable community plan to consider. We are pausing our masterplan work to collaborate with CHiP further and support the development of their proposal.

"It has always been a desire for the building to remain in community use, but we were not able to identify a workable business case. CHiP are potentially able to access funding sources that are not available to local authorities, so we are hopeful that through their proposals, community use could be possible. 

"We are open to receiving alternative community proposals and will also be considering if any funding from MVDC could be available related to annual costs we are currently incurring, other items identified in proposals or provision of additional parking to facilitate use of the site.

"We do have some support for a hotel on the site which we believe will positively impact on the eastern part of Dorking bringing tourism, jobs and supporting local businesses*. If the CHiP proposal (or other community proposals put forward) are not robust enough to come to fruition, then we are pragmatic enough to ensure that the draft Local Plan allows for review of the planning designation of the site. 

"Pippbrook House is currently costing around £70,000 a year to maintain and requires investment of around £1.6 million to put the building into a satisfactory watertight state. We are now working closer than ever before with CHiP to find a long-term and sustainable plan for its future."

Sally Elias, on behalf of CHiP, said: "With our combination of proven entrepreneurialism and a love of our local landmark building, we're confident that through a Community Interest Company like CHIP, we are able to negotiate and secure the necessary funding to transform Pippbrook House into an asset to be used and owned by the people of Dorking and the wider Mole Valley.

"Our goal is to provide a genuinely accessible community hub for working, learning, therapy, arts and celebration. We have a clear vision and a business-model that will no doubt be made stronger and more compelling as we engage with the wider community and the officers and team at MVDC."

© 2018 Mole Valley, Pippbrook, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1SJ.
Tel: +44 (0)1306 885001 Fax: +44 (0)1306 876821, 2018.