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Sandwich Town Council WILL seek loan to buy Drill Hall on The Quay

By Eleanor Perkins

The building, formerly used by Sandwich Army Cadets, is advertised as a redevelopment opportunity.

The guide price is £250,000 and sealed bids can be submitted until Tuesday.

The Drill Hall in Sandwich

The Drill Hall in Sandwich

Over the past week, the council has been holding a survey to assess public opinion on whether it should seek to acquire the building before it applies for a 100% loan.

At the close of the survey at 9am on Tuesday, town clerk Laura Fidler told KentOnline there had been 148 responses.

Of these, 139 were via the online survey. The rest consisted of one letter, two emails – including one from the chairman of the Sandwich Town Team on behalf of the group – and six responses made in person at the Guildhall.

The results concluded 112 people (75.68%) were in favour of the council buying the Drill Hall and 36 respondents (24.32%) were against.

A KentOnline poll had similar findings with about 64% (41 voters) in favour of the purchase, and 25% (16 voters) against it. Seven people said they were not sure.

Ms Fidler said: “I’m now going to submit the paperwork to the Kent Association of Local Councils, for the attention of the Department for Communities and Local Government, to request permission to borrow money to purchase the Drill Hall.

“I will also submit a formal bid to the sellers of the property. The deadline for submissions is by post on November 15, and so we want to ensure it arrives on time.

“Hopefully then the funds will be confirmed and in place if we’re the successful applicant.”

A total of 77 people provided written input into how they thought the Drill Hall should be used in the future. Suggestions included a theatre space, art galleries, use by community groups or as an indoor market.

A handful of people said they would like to see the town’s museum relocated there, giving the recently discovered Magna Carta a permanent home. One person said they would like to see it returned to the Sandwich Cadet Force.

A meeting between the Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme and other councillors was held on Thursday to discuss future uses of the building and the business plan.

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