Anger over club lease
THE CHAIRMAN of the group behind exciting plans to transform a former bowls club into a youth café has criticised Harborough District Council for delays to the project.
The Harborough Youth and Community Trust (HYACT) wants to renovate the former bowls club pavilion in Symington’s Rec, creating a drop-in cafe for young people.
But the group’s chairman Jean Molcher told the Mail this week the project was experiencing major delays over the lease of the building from the council.
The group also objects to having to pay the council £248 for advertising the lease proposal in the form of a public notice, published in the Mail last week.
The council said this was standard procedure when granting a lease.
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But Mrs Molcher said: “Why are we, as a charity, having to pay when it was the council that offered us the lease to start with?
“This has been going on for a year now and we’re still waiting for the lease.
“We’ve been going through this process for so long and it wasn’t until a month ago we were told [by the council] we would have to pay the money for an advert.”
Mrs Molcher said the problems were also delaying the long-awaited opening of the Harborough Screen cinema.
HYACT is set to lease part of the site for use by the cinema as part of the project but cannot do so until it is granted its own lease from the council.
They have contacted ward councillors for the area Phil Knowles, Sarah Hill and Barbara Johnson, in a bid to get the advertising fee waivered.
Cllr Knowles told the Mail: “This facility will provide a wide range of opportunities to the younger section of our community.
“It will remove significant costs from the council in the long term and enhance planning of youth provision for the years ahead.
“To penalise the project in this way is simply wrong. We have called on the officers to review this and will if necessary take steps to bring the matter before council.”
The idea of the project is to provide a new space for The Cube youth club.
It currently meets at The Settling Rooms, near Sainsbury’s, but the group is rapidly outgrowing the venue.
“We’re desperate to go in there [the pavilion] because the Settling Rooms are too small,” said Mrs Molcher.
“We can’t have our equipment in there because it used by other groups throughout the week. We can’t do the social enterprise work we want to do in there. We’ve had up to 55 young people in the Settling Rooms at one time because we have backing of so many people in the town.”
An independent charity made up of representatives from Harborough churches and other agencies, HYACT is aiming to create a venue similar to the Cube at the rec’s pavilion, which became free after Market Harborough Town Bowls Club folded.
Plans drawn up for the building would see the building completely renovated, maintaining the look of the 1930s pavilion but constructed with modern materials and using energy saving technology to make it as ‘green’ as possible.
As well as a café, HYACT hope to provide entertainment such as TVs and games consoles.
Future plans include advice sessions on issues such as debt management or finding a job.
“It will be somewhere for young people to go to find support with issues,” said Mrs Molcher.
“We’ve got a team of dedicated volunteers and a superb youth worker, Gary Brown, and we’ve got the support of the town.”
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Weather for Market Harborough
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 23 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 12 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east