QEF crosses its fingers as vision for charity hub goes to planning committee

qefQueen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) is hoping that its plans for a new charity hub will be met with approval by Mole Valley District Council’s Development Control Committee.

The plan under consideration is for QEF to create a community of charitable organisations and the people that work for, volunteer at and use them, in a charity hub that will feel like a campus where people live, work, socialise and access services. The planning application also requests permission to build housing on land currently belonging to QEF, which would fund the rest of the development.

QEF’s CEO Jonathan Powell said: “Our plans for a centre of excellence on the Woodlands Road site will rejuvenate the services we offer to people disabilities and have much to offer to other charities in the region and the local community.

“If we cannot proceed then we will have to consider our position and ask ourselves some very serious questions about whether QEF has to completely relocate and look elsewhere in the country for facilities. This would be a great shame, but it would be irresponsible to work from a site where buildings are having to be abandoned because the cost of refurbishing them is prohibitive and makes little sense when compared with the benefits of starting afresh.”

“My message to the local community is that yes, we are on Green Belt land, but it’s not empty land. There are buildings here that are in danger of falling derelict that are not economically or practically viable to refurbish. The proposed new buildings will not take up a much bigger footprint than existing ones and they will be built with sustainability and energy savings as priorities right from the outset. A new start will actually be the greener option.”

“We will also work with all of the relevant local authorities to ensure that transport and infrastructure links are improved. I know that there is some concern that the travel links with close towns could be better, but our new hub and the new housing offer a compelling case to go ahead and improve local facilities in a permanently sustainable way.”

About Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People

Based in Surrey, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) is a leading national charity working with over 4,000 disabled children and adults every year with physical or learning disabilities or acquired brain injuries. Find out more at www.qef.org.uk

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