Controversial plans for PGL’s Pestalozzi site about to be decided

A children’s activity centre could soon be built on the former Pestalozzi site in Sedlescombe if controversial plans are agreed tomorrow.

PGL Travel, which bought the 138 acre site last year, wants to turn it into a residential training and educational facility.

And planning officials have recommended that conditional permission be granted for the scheme – despite opposition from residents.

A final decision is expected to be made tomorrow morning when the issue is discussed by Rother District Council’s planning committee.

PGL, which operates several sites in the UK and France, specialises in educational activity courses, school trips, French language courses, summer camps, and children’s activity holidays.

Its plans for the Ladybird Lane site include building new accommodation blocks, adding a kitchen extension, putting in a car and coach park, and improving access.

It also wants to put up a zip wire, climbing wall, abseil tower, swings, and activity shelters, as well as excavating a pond.

Since originally submitting the planning application, PGL has made a number of amendments, such as reducing the number of activity structures, the number of tents, and the size of the pond.

It has also included the erection of natural green willow acoustic fencing, deleted the proposed toilet and shower block, reduced the size of the car park.

However, the project has angered residents. A petition of 90 names and 103 individual letters of objection have been sent to Rother District Council – and only seven letters of support.

Their concerns focus on the centre’s potential impact on an area of outstanding natural beauty, according to a summary compiled by planning officials in a report to Rother District Council.

“While Sedlescombe Parish Council and residents of Sedlescombe are clear that they support the type of fun-based activity centres that PGL supplies as a business, the fundamental issue is that whilst it is a good activity for children the proposed development is simply in the wrong location for this business,” they wrote.

The site had been home to the Pestalozzi International Village Trust since the 1950s, but was sold to safeguard the charity’s work with high achieving, low income young people.

At the time of the sale, Professor Stuart Laing, chairman of the Pestalozzi board of trustees, said: “Agreeing the sale with PGL means that we can now move forward confidently with our new scholarship programme.”

What are your thoughts about the plans for Pestalozzi’s future? tell us in the comment section below…

4 thoughts on “Controversial plans for PGL’s Pestalozzi site about to be decided

  1. I just mourn the end of Pestalozzi and the wonderful place that was my very happy childhood home for so many years. I’m pleased that through PGL there will once more be the sound of children’s laughter sounding through those beautiful grounds, that were my introduction to a nation without prejudice!

  2. Sounds a great use of the site to me (without detailed knowledge of the site, or the residents’ concerns). In that it is a residential outdoor activity centre in lovely countryside – for city children. With the seaside on the doorstep.

  3. I live in sedlescombe and welcome the development. I cannot understand the objections to it ..dark sky village ?? The new housing estate is very well lit so that’s not the reason

  4. Having seen part of the planning meeting, parish councillors complaining about the noise of laughing children sums up the NIMBY attitude towards this development.

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