The future of the building which was the HQ for the Leamington Royal Naval Association remains uncertain following a council vote this week.
The motion put to Warwick District Council on Wednesday by Cllr Stef Parkins (Lab, Leamington Crown), and supported by members from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups, called for the decision made by the authority’s executive in April to let the vacant building in the Adelaide Road Bridge area on a two-year lease to be changed in favour of a minimum ten-year lease.
But the majority of councillors voted against this on grounds it could prevent the building and surrounding premises from being considered for use as part of the council’s Creative Quarter.
A two-year lease on the former RNA HQ will now be offered to the neighbouring Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, which will also enable the nearby community group Leamington Arts and Music Project (Leamington Lamp) to use part of the building.
Cllr Parkins said she had put the motion forward to try to secure a longer-term agreement and to meet the community’s need for Lamp and other groups which could just be “kicked out” in two years’ time otherwise.
But business portfolio holder Cllr Noel Butler said longer-term accommodation for Leamington Lamp and other groups would be considered as part of the Creative Quarter process.
After the meeting Pip Burley, the director of Leamington Lamp said: “Whilst we were obviously disappointed with the outcome of the vote, the positive is that councillors of all parties had only positive things to say of Lamp, and we were offered words of support from the executive. “What’s crucial is that we are able to work with Warwick District Council to achieve security of tenure, and we are expecting to enter into discussions to work out how that can be achieved.
“We’d like to thank all the people that turned up to offer support to us.”