A FURIOUS row has broken out over the future of the Greig Hall complex in Alcester.
A proposal before Stratford District Council’s cabinet meeting on Monday calls for the leisure agreement between the authority and the Greig Trustees to be terminated with six months notice and operation of the facilities taken over by the council.
The trustees run the Greig Centre which offers squash and tennis courts, gym, dance studio and physiotherapy room to local residents.
However concern has been raised about the deteriorating nature of the site and its facilities.
Back in 2005 the council entered into an £800,000 funding agreement with the Trustees to support the site.
The district council has £250,000 to invest in the complex and if it calls in that loan, and the Trustees are unable to repay it, the authority could take possession of the site to settle the debt.
Councillor Susan Adams (Con, Alcester & Rural) said: “The site is becoming an eyesore and open to vandalism.
“Alcester deserves better sporting facilities and needs funding to upgrade the sports hall complex. This will be achieved with the site coming into public ownership and new management.”
However the move has sparked a furious response from Ross Greig, chair of the Trustees, who accused the council of trying to destroy an Alcester charity.
In a letter to Coun Chris Saint (Con, Shipston North) the leader of Stratford District Council he said: “Without any prior debate, the Council announced a totally unprincipled power grab to obtain a multi-million pound site masquerading in the pretence that it is doing it for the benefit of the local people of Alcester.”
At the heart of the issue is the £800,000 funding agreement, over 25 years, that the council entered into with the trustees in 2005 to support leisure facilities and the Greig Hall.
Mr Greig says the agreement meant as long as leisure facilities were maintained onsite, the £800,000 would not need to be repaid, and quotes Coun Saint as agreeing to this.
However the district council says they agreement can be terminated with six months notice on either side.
Concerned resident and former district councillor Susan Juned said: “This is quite disconcerting as both sides seem to have a totally different understanding of the history of this and what I really worries me is we could end up with no leisure facilities in Alcester, either during any refurbishment or forever.”
District Coun Mike Gittus (Con, Kinwarton) said: “The benefit to the community of the whole facility being put into public ownership means that elected representatives will make decisions on its future for the benefit of the community.”