Following the news (CN 24 November) that Bracknell Forest Council is considering the sale of Easthampstead Park conference centre, local residents have organised a petition to keep the centre. It received over 6,000 signatures in its first week and organiser David Luck tells CN that, as well as considering the sale of Easthampstead Park, Bracknell Forest Council had also submitted the House and its grounds to their current site allocation process as a potential site for housing development.
“But due the community backlash over this they have officially withdrawn EPH from the site allocation process,” Luck says, adding that if the house and grounds were sold, the council would have no powers to prevent a private buyer from re-developing the site, with up to 600 houses built.
“Residents are calling upon the council to protect Easthampstead Park and its status as a conference and events centre and we are looking for support,” Luck tells CN.
“The aim of the petition is to make Bracknell Council fully aware of how much love this town has for Easthampstead Park and how much of an important community asset it is. Its not just an old house that’s being preserved for posterity it regularly hosts weddings, conferences, public events, local and national shows as well as festivals.
“Residents would like to see Easthampstead Park retained & protected by Bracknell Forest Council.
“It is NOT a piece of scrub land that the council can use to balance the books and as such it should not be treated like that.”
Luck adds that Easthampstead Park is listed by the Department for the Environment as “a building of historic and architectural interest.
“The aim of this petition is to encourage the borough council to change their mind and instead offer a guarantee to protect Easthampstead Park house and its grounds.”