Row intensifies over plans to sell Community House - The Redditch Standard

Row intensifies over plans to sell Community House

Redditch Editorial 29th Jul, 2022   0

THE ROW over the future of Community House between the council and the groups that use it has escalated this week.

Redditch Borough Council has made the decision to sell the building on Easemore Road to make way for redevelopment.

However, the trustees of Community House claimed they were unaware of the authority’s plans to sell and relocate organisations.

A spokesperson for Community House claimed they were only ever asked about repairs to the fabric of the building and added the VCS organisations wanted to stay.

“The charities and community groups based here have not been offered alternative accommodation, been consulted properly or been supported to look or, until now, even realised they needed to.”

He added they had challenged some of the costings of the £340,000 repair bill presented to the scrutiny committee and claimed the leaseholders, RCNT and Gemini Dance Centre and the neighbours would pay for the majority with the council, fundamentally, expected to stump up ‘less than half’.

Gary Roskill, chief executive of Bromsgrove and Redditch Network (BARN) and chairman of the RCNT, said: “We were not told the building was to be sold. We had a meeting about possible renovations but those were to span 15 years.

“Although we were facing financial difficulty with the rent, after we were awarded two considerable council grants, we now have the funds to stay.

“The idea that it is our fault is ridiculous.”

His claims have been refuted by the council.

A council spokesperson said: “As part of the conditions survey, closure of the building would have been put forward, considering the very high cost of potential repairs, as part of discussions with our tenants in November and December 2021.

“We did ask, twice, for the details of the sub-tenants, so we could communicate with them, but we didn’t receive them.

“Also, after it was decided that the concessionary rents were to be removed in 2024, we were told by RCNT that they would not be able to afford the rent and would look elsewhere for accommodation by April 2023.

“The council continues to work with community groups to find alternative, suitable accommodation.”

Following a lively council meeting on Monday when an adjournment was held because tempers flared,

Leader Coun Matt Dormer has now been briefed about Community House.

He said: “We have communicated with all of our tenants affected by the changes at Community House however I do accept that there were gaps with some of the groups regarding timeliness and consistency.

“This is because many of these groups did not have a contract directly with the council, and it was the responsibility of their landlord, Redditch Common Neighbourhood Trust (RCNT) which had sub-let the premises, to let them know.”


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