Issue - meetings
Byrne Avenue Recreation Centre
Meeting: 07/11/2013 - Cabinet (Item 90)
Councillor Chris Meaden left the meeting whilst this matter was under consideration.
A report by the Head of Universal and Infrastructure Services summarised the present position in respect of the Byrne Avenue Recreation Centre, sought authority to take possession of the building from the Byrne Avenue Community Trust, declare the property surplus to the Council’s requirements and progress with disposal of the property.
Ben Harrison of the Byrne Avenue Community Trust (BACT) was in attendance at the meeting and Councillor Phil Davies invited him to address the Cabinet. Mr Harrison relayed the history of the Recreation Centre and informed of the very interesting journey the Trust had embarked upon as it had campaigned to reopen the building, signed the lease in 2011 and struggled to find bodies, that were not already oversubscribed, that would provide grants to assist the project. The fact that the building was closed had meant that the Trust was not eligible for a lot of grants.
Mr Harrison informed that there had been set backs. The building had been broken in to and lead had been stolen from the roof. However, some progress had been made. A project manager had been recruited and some low level funding had been secured to make the building look more presentable.
The Director’s report informed that the BACT had been unsuccessful in securing funding to completely refurbish the building. Its proposal to carry out the work in two phases, using the Community Fund £350,000 for phase one, gave no assurances that the funds for phase two would be secured. In the absence of a Business Plan, any phased development would be difficult to support as Phase one would see the refurbishing of the pool which was commonly the loss-making activity in a Sports Centre and would need to be supported by more profitable dry activities.
The building could, therefore, remain partly refurbished indefinitely. The lease had been subject to the condition that BACT would secure all the funding within twelve months of signing the lease and the building would be completely refurbished, prior to opening. The deadline for securing the funding and submitting the business plan had been 10 February 2013 and, therefore, the lease had expired.
The Council’s Disposal Policy set out the procedure for the disposal of surplus assets. The sale could proceed on the open market with the existing building or a cleared site. It was noted that the sale of the existing building would remove all liability from the Council and there would be no delay in marketing the building. The market would determine whether the building was refurbished and reused or demolished and the site redeveloped. The risk was that, on disposal, the Council would have no further control over the building which could be left vacant and unused by the purchaser and, therefore, may become vandalised and detrimental to the surrounding area.
A sale of the cleared site would require the demolition of the building. Demolition costs, including a type three asbestos survey, were ... view the full minutes text for item 90