Decision day looms for Alcester centre

By <b>Connie Osborne Friday 07 March 2014 Updated: 07/03 09:47

ALCESTER’S Greig Centre could be handed over to Stratford-upon-Avon District Council or sold to a charitable trust in a bid to secure its future.

But if councillors choose not to intervene, the building could be lost completely after running into financial difficulty.

The council, which has invested £800,000 and has spent £4,000 a month up until March in emergency funding, will be considering three options at a cabinet meeting on Monday (March 10) after trustees of the building say it is not viable to continue operating.

They include taking no action which could result in the Trust facing insolvency, transferring the site to the council for it to run or to sell part of the site to Wychavon Leisure with the council owning the rest.

The Greig Centre’s financial problems have been ongoing for several years and resulted in the closure of the Greig Hall in 2011 to keep the Lifestyles Building and squash courts open.

The Unity Trust Bank also contributed to the centre with a loan of £180,000 and Alcester Town Council gave £150,000.

A previous attempt to sell the Greig Hall to build 31 homes and use the funds to redevelop the neighbouring sports centre collapsed after planning permission was refused.

The hall itself was then registered as a community asset which gave resident groups and organisations the opportunity to own the property.

Coun Mike Gittus, who represents the neighbouring Kinwarton ward on the district council and Alcester at county and town level, said residents had to put the history of the hall behind them.

He said it was not a time to point fingers but pull together to provide a future for the iconic building.

“Over the next few months those that have supported the Greig’s retention will have the opportunity to demonstrate that support in a practical way,” he said.

“The only realistic option in my view is option two, I feel that this option will give the stakeholders the best opportunities, whilst retaining control of the public investment.”

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