A town council plan to buy a new community centre could be abandoned after members were made aware of the potential cost of running it.

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A special town meeting will be held tomorrow to debate the best way forward for Sheringham Community Centre, which has been built by Tesco as part of the deal that will see it open a supermarket on Cromer Road.

Sheringham Town Council has secured £100,000 from the Public Works Loan Board to buy the centre, amid fears that when a lease on a peppercorn rent runs out in 2019, it could revert to a market rate.

The council has since asked Janet Farrow to compile a business plan to outline the costs of running the centre.

And, though the details of the plan have not been revealed, town mayor Doug Smith admitted “all options” would be on the table at the meeting.

They include:

● Going ahead with buying and running the centre on Holway Road

● Renting it at a peppercorn rent for the next six years, then looking again at the options when the rent changes

● Moving the town council headquarters from the town hall at St Peter’s Road to the community centre, then selling or renting out the town hall.

Mr Smith said: “There’s been some discussions among members about the way to go. Can we afford both buildings? Do we still need the town hall?

“We decided that the best thing to do was to draw up a business plan to see if the figures stack up.”

He said there had been “delay after delay after delay” in the hand-over of the community centre, and he hoped that the public meeting would “resolve things one way or another”.

Mr Smith added: “We are very conscious that we need to do the best for the council tax payers of Sheringham.”

The town council agreed to buy the new centre for £173,000 when Norfolk County Council said it was not prepared to offer a lease on the current peppercorn rent - which will transfer from the soon-to-be-demolished community centre on Cromer Road - beyond 2019.

Amid fears that the annual rent would steeple to £20,000 per year, members agreed to provide £73,000 from capital reserves and £10,000 to cover agents’ and legal fees. In November, the Public Works Loan Board handed over a £100,000 loan to make up the remainder of the sum.

Once the new centre has been handed over, Tesco will begin the demolition of Lockerbie flats, the current community centre and the old fire station, all on Cromer Road, to make way for the supermarket.

7 comments

  • The words p**s up and brewery are the one that spring to mind.

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    Callum Ringer

    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • incompetent or are they letting another agenda get in the way ? derrick murphys lot have always been sly its time the county council gave sheringham a fair deal so they can buy it

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    Double Bill

    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • the town council ballsed up the consultation on the sports pitch now they have ballsed this up too

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    Double Bill

    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • oops who didnt see this one coming i wonder??

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • Apart from the lack of forethought that seems to have attended the whole sorry tale, there seem to be some real problems with the suggested "solution" of selling off the Town Hall. Removing the Town Council functions to the location of the community centre, away from the centre, would make access difficult for many. This might then result in alternative arrangements being made (e.g. a service point in the library which might be possible but for which NCC would expect paying). Secondly we would need to ask whether the planned functions of the Community Centre (did they ever decide what those were by the way?) copuld be compromised if the building also had to house the Council chamber and other offices.

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    Chris Booty

    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • A little late in the day to start doing the math!

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, January 28, 2013

  • Its incompetence on the part of the Town Council, long serving members of the council must take responsibility for this mess and resign.

    Report this comment

    Hugh

    Monday, January 28, 2013

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