Last minute find saves building ...and the taxpayer £100,000
AROUND £100,000 of taxpayers’ money and the destruction of a building in Kenilworth have been saved this week by a last minute tenant.
The STOP HS2 group and Brink art organisation were evicted from the building at 129-131 Warwick Road, last week ready for it to be demolished to save Warwickshire County Council money on business rates until its train station plan came to fruition.
But then only days after the former tenants moved, new ones - the local employer Proserve Ltd, which had an urgent need for extra space to meet an increased order book - moved in and secured a two-year lease.
Proserve will pay for the ongoing upkeep of the building and keep the site secure.
In all, the county council will be saving around £35,000 a year through the tenancy and the immediate £100,000 it would have cost to demolish the building.
County councillor John Whitehouse (Lib Dem, Abbey) said: “I’ve been asking questions about the proposed demolition since the end of April, including formally at the last two full council meetings, most recently on July 10.
“It is now clear that no sustained effort was made by the council to find a suitable short-term tenant for this building. Luckily the new tenant approached the council a few weeks ago, probably as a result of all the adverse publicity in the Weekly News.
“There is a severe shortage of premises for light industrial use in Kenilworth. Yet until this fell into their laps, the council was all set to pull the building down.”
Although there is a shortage of these sorts of buildings to let in Kenilworth, Cllr Alan Cockburn, portfolio holder for sustainable communities, said it is difficult to let large premises when the stated aim of the landlord is to demolish in an unspecified timescale. However because Proserve won a large contract six-weeks ago to help construct a flood barrier in Venice, they needed a large building for 18 months to two years at “very short notice”.
Cllr Cockburn added: “This is good news for the county council and Kenilworth.
“A local company which is looking to increase orders is staying in the area. As well as making savings, this lease fulfils the council’s commitment, laid out in the Going for Growth agenda. We are looking to maximise the use of our buildings, as we have here, where this can stimulate the local economy.”
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Weather for Kenilworth
Thursday 23 May 2013
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