Sunday 16 June 2024
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Plans to sell off a Nottinghamshire town hall

A Nottinghamshire town hall could be handed over to a church and community group as part of plans to renovate it and make it more accessible.

Warsop Parish Council has asked Mansfield District Council to change clauses in the deeds of Warsop Town Hall so it can sell off the building.

The parish council has been in talks with local charity group Lifespring Church and Centre after a 2021 public consultation narrowly recommended the authority find a new use for the 90-year-old building.

It followed funding problems at the parish council which meant council tax increases were not enough to fund the upkeep and repairs of the building.

The consultation of 250 people voted 126 for and 124 against reusing the building for other purposes.

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Voters instead suggested the council should spend its money on outreach projects, community and business support and town centre improvements.

It led to negotiations about leaving the building or finding alternative uses for the town hall.

The parish council previously said it could make about £10,000 per year renting out its facilities to community groups.

But now new proposals – including a large business plan and improvements totalling £420,000 – could bring new life to the building.

Mansfield District Council papers say the business plan outlines proposals to “protect, enhance and sustain” the building by renovating it to a “good state of repair”.

This would “increase growth and engagement” across Warsop by offering “more accessible facilities” with more “social regeneration activities”.

Space would also be provided for community groups currently using the building, while the town hall would become the main residence of Lifespring.

This is a charity based in both Ollerton and Warsop which offers church services and community support like food banks and youth projects.

The parish council, which currently uses the building as its headquarters, would then rent space from the charity as and when it is needed.

Previous council minutes suggest the parish authority would need about 110 square metres and this could include hosting its council meetings.

However, papers confirm the plans hinge on the district council removing clauses from the original deeds when the building was sold to the parish council in September 2010.

This deal gave the district council a buy-back clause of £1 if the building ceased to be used for community purposes, or a sell-on clause of £165,000 – the value of the building at the time – if the parish council was to sell it on.

However, the parish council is now asking the Labour-run district authority to remove both clauses so the new changes can be implemented.

However, parish council meeting minutes from June this year said: “The removal of the clauses is vital and needs to be done as quickly as possible.”

Mansfield District Council will take a delegated decision on Friday, October 6 where the clauses are recommended for removal so the changes can come forward.

In a report, the district council added: “In view of the proposed transfer to Lifespring Church and Centre, it is considered in the best interest of the local community to preserve the asset for community use rather than exercise the option to buy back.

“It is … appropriate to waive the pre-emption restrictions and allow the parish council to dispose of the property to Lifespring Church and Centre to secure its ongoing community use for the benefit of the Warsop community.”

Cllr Craig Whitby (Lab), the council’s deputy mayor and cabinet member for finance, will be asked to take the decision next week.

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