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20 November 2014, 07:11
Councillors in Wellingborough are recommending a £250,000 grant to turn the town's Glamis Hall into a community hub.
Members of the council's resources committee agreed that they would recommend the freehold of the building be transferred to the group Glamis Hall for All after the council stops running services from there at the end of the year.
It was also recommended that the group be given a one-off capital grant of up to £250,000 to help repair and refurbish the 40-year-old building.
Around 25 people attended to hear the discussion of latest proposals in an issue that started at the beginning of the summer. The council agreed in June to close the building as it was no longer fit for purpose, and running the discretionary day care service was unaffordable and not properly meeting clients' needs.
Campaigners then gathered a 10,000 signature petition opposing the closure and, after weeks of talks with the council, the Glamis Hall for All group presented a business plan explaining how they could run the building as a community hub if it was transferred to them.
A special meeting of the resources committee was held last night (19 November) to debate the business plan and decide whether to recommend the transfer under community asset transfer legislation.
At the meeting, councillors heard from the group's chairman, Heather Saunders, who thanked them for the opportunity to present their business plan and said they had lots of hopes and plans for the future of Glamis Hall. She also thanked the public for their continued support.
In response to questions from councillors, Mrs Saunders explained that the group had secured a commitment of around £50,000 to see them through the first few months, and would be seeking external funding to ensure the centre was sustainable in the future.
It was also confirmed that if the freehold was transferred, covenants would be included to ensure that Glamis Hall would remain as a building for community use.
Following the short debate, the committee unanimously recommended that the freehold transfer and the grant of up to £250,000 go ahead.
The recommendation will go to a meeting of the full council on 9 December. If approved, Glamis Hall for All will be able to access the building from the New Year to start work on transforming the building into a community hub, while terms of the transfer are being negotiated and finalised.