THE future ownership of Ashburton Town Hall should be decided within three months. Negotiations surrounding the Teignbridge Council-owned building have been continuing for four years with Ashburton Town Council, which wants ownership of the building, but it is the terms that have proved the stumbling block. Cllr Jim Grimble, portfolio holder for assets, E government and performance, told Teignbridge Council Executive on Wednesday that recently things had become positive with a good deal of progress. He said it was one step further and a policy on disposal of assets below their value had been agreed. Cllr Stuart Barker said he strongly supported the transfer of this community building back to the people and council of Ashburton. He asked if there was any way consideration could be given to an alternative recommendation to speed the matter up. 'I think the council's position has been clear as to what amount is required for it. 'I wonder whether you could be happy for the portfolio holder to take the lead as soon as you are aware what the council would want to acquire the building for. 'The town council wants the building and has planned uses for it. There could be conditions to enable the council to recover any costs,' he maintained. Cllr Barker added that he would support a nominal fee because he believed there would be considerable costs in the building and that had to be taken into account. The leader, Cllr Alan Connett, said he would certainly go for the nominal route. 'We want to see the town hall with Ashburton and want to see that both councils are happy with the deal that is struck,' he said. Cllr Connett successfully suggested that a further report of the final transfer proposals was brought to the executive no later than its August meeting. 'I am sure Ashburton will be very keen to get a result, and so will we,' said Cllr Connett. The town hall was transferred from the former Ashburton Urban Council to Teignbridge in April 1974 as part of local government reorganisation, with the successor town council given user rights.
Town hall may revert to council ownership
Thursday 18th May 2006 10:00 pm