Groups’ final plea to postpone their eviction and demolition
A PLEA for more time has been put forward by Stop HS2 campaigners and Brink art group which are due to be evicted from their Kenilworth headquarters this Sunday.
The two groups currently occupy the Warwickshire County Council building in 129-131 Warwick Road, but have been asked to leave so it can be demolished ready for future developments.
The county council bought the grounds to relocate Buildbase so it could build a new Kenilworth Railway Station in Station Road. Due to funding and planning issues these plans are still on hold and it is costing the county council around £28,000 a year to keep the Warwick Road buildings standing. So it now wants to spend £100,000 to demolish them and erect a two metre high brick wall around the site until planning permission is given for Buildbase to move.
Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 campaign co-ordinator, said: “We have been given a date of Sunday to vacate the building, just one day short of the anniversary of the official opening, as WCC intend to demolish the building, though we do not know the date of demolition as planning permission for the Buildbase proposal has still not been granted.
“Given the lack of any visible timetable for proposed demolition, we do not understand the rush involved in asking us to vacate and hope that this can be postponed.
“We have now been told that the main reason for demolition of the building is to remove the need to pay business rates. In a note provided to Cllr John Whitehouse by council officers, business rates for the 2012-2013 year have already been paid, so there could be no reduction in costs until the next year’s rates.”
As well as the STOP HS2 group, Brink, a community arts organisation, has also moved in and hopes to establish a Temporanea art gallery in the building. Tim Robottom, one of the group’s co-founders, has collected around 250 signatures in support of keeping the building standing so both Stop HS2 and Brink can use it.
He said: “I really want to create a thriving cultural centre/creative hub with art exhibitions, live events, artist studios and educational events.
“I feel this would increase footfall and tourism in the town because of the consistent, regular, exciting and stimulating cultural activity. To knock this building down is a waste.”
However Cllr Alan Cockburn (Con, St Johns), in his role as cabinet member, said: “The only way to defray the business rate costs are by demolishing the building.”
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Weather for Kenilworth
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
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