Beverley Town Council has hit the ground running with a cross-party initiative to acquire premises that can provide administrative offices alongside facilities for the benefit of the town as a whole.
Following the first meeting of Full Council after mayor-making, members discussed the initiative and agreed that the old school buildings on St Nicholas Road could be ideal to fulfil this vision.
It is understood that East Riding Council, which currently owns the site, plans to sell it at market value. As a result, Beverley Town Council has moved swiftly to submit an application nominating the property to be recognised as an asset of community value under the Localism Act.
No Guarantees Council Can Secure Property
However, even if the nomination is successful, this is no guarantee that they can secure the land and buildings. It will, however, impose a six-month moratorium on any disposal by ERYC in which time the Town Council can put together a business case for their acquisition.
Councillor Denis Healy, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, who proposed the initiative said:
“At the moment Beverley is one of the few larger councils in the county which does not own and operate any kind of facility for the wider community.”
“Driffield, Hornsea and our neighbouring parish of Molescroft are cases in point. The Liberal Democrats want to put that right.”
“I welcome the support and cooperation of the Labour Group in taking this forward. This is a real cross-party project with all of us working to enhance our offering to the town.”
Margaret Pinder, leader of the Labour Group said;
“We are very pleased to be working with Denis and his team on this project. The Labour group has long argued that the council should be looking to acquire a building that can serve as a community hub.”
“However previous initiatives have been held back by as a result of other factions. That all changed on 2 May with the local elections and the new make-up of the council.”
“This has given us all the opportunity for a more collaborative and constructive tenure over the next four years.”
Beverley Town Council Set Up Cross Party Working Group
A cross-party working group has already been established. It also includes Independent councillor, Ian Gow, to develop a business plan.
They will look at engagement with residents to understand the needs and ambitions of the Beverley community.
The council currently holds substantial cash in reserve. Some of this money they say could be applied to the project. They also say other funds could possibly be raised by means of a public works loan.
Both Denis and Margaret agreed. Cllr Healy added;
“We need to be fiscally prudent, but precept money raised on our residents should be used for the benefit of the town.”
“The food festival is a big draw for our local businesses. We also have our allotment sites, but we want to think bigger and better.”
“If that means a new way of working as councillors, it’s a challenge we’re happy to meet.”