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20th Oct, 2021

Time running out to finance a new public square in Studley

Ross Crawford 28th May, 2021 Updated: 10th Jun, 2021

PLANS to create an open public square in Studley are ‘at the 11th hour’ say campaigners.

The scheme hinges on the village’s derelict youth centre which would form part of the proposed site.

This would see it levelled and paved to form a square linking the high street with the Millennium Garden and Pool Road car park.

But despite the youth centre being a Studley community asset, the funds have to be found to buy it from owners Warwickshire County Council.

If those aren’t forthcoming by the end of this month – or a stay of sale negotiated – county hall will auction the building off to the highest bidder.

“As we understand it, if they don’t have a workable plan in front of them sometime soon then they are going to auction off that plot of land,” said Studley County Councillor Justin Kerridge.

Ideas to raise the money to buy the old youth club put before Studley Parish Council last week included selling off the old ATC hut and Scout hut for housing, with the Scouts having a new multi-use hut built as a replacement.

However this met with by opposition from councillors concerned about the loss of another community asset and the impact having to share would have on the busy Scout group.

Chris Osborne, a member of Studley in Business who heads up the village square group, acknowledged that idea had now ‘dropped down the agenda’.

“We’re looking at a £400,000 to £500,000 budget to get most of what we want done and we are looking at other possible options,” he said.

“One is a government fund for community assets that might otherwise be lost or disposed of.

“The other is a town centre development fund, and it looks like we should qualify for both.

“We are also looking at ideas that could possibly generate a bit of income for the county council to give us more time.”

Councillor Colin Summers, the chair of Studley Parish Council who is also a member of the group, added: “I think the site is ideal and the possibilities if it comes to fruition are endless.

“We appreciate all local authorities are short of cash but it would be a real shame if something inappropriate was built there rather than something that the whole community could make use of.”

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