Future of Kenilworth care provider uncertain

The future of a Kenilworth care provider is uncertain after Warwickshire County Council has yet to renew the lease on the building.

Wednesday, 2nd November 2016, 8:19 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:02 pm
Former trustee of Waverley Day Centre Richard Dickson outside the centre. Warwickshire County Council has yet to organise a new lease for the charity to use

Waverley Day Centre in Waverley Road currently provides day care and activities for many elderly Kenilworth residents every Tuesday to Friday.

But the lease on the county council-owned building expired over two years ago and a longer-term lease has yet to be formally arranged.

The day centre used to lease the building from the council at a peppercorn rent, but since then the council has changed its policy.

Centres like Waverley will now have to submit a business plan to the council and be tested on their ‘social value’ before they can qualify for lower rent.

Although the charity’s finances are relatively healthy, the council’s indecision has put the centre’s long-term future in doubt.

Former trustee of the centre Richard Dickson had been trying in vain to get a response from the county council since the summer when his term as a trustee ended.

He was forced to submit a Freedom of Information request to the council about the lease, but did not receive a reply despite the 20 working-day deadline for responses having passed.

Speaking on behalf of the Kenilworth Lib Dem community focus team, Richard said: “Until this summer, Waverley had always been promised that the lease would be sorted soon.

“The charity has ambitious plans for the future of its service for local older people but, even when I submitted an FOI request to the county council, no answers have been provided.

“One way or another this lease ought to be simple to resolve and for the sake of all of Waverley’s users, volunteers and staff I hope it’s a positive outcome because the time for empty promises is over.”

In response, Cllr Alan Cockburn, portfolio holder for property at the county council, sought to set the record straight on the centre’s future.

He said: “Warwickshire County Council allows peppercorn rents on 44 buildings which they believe have social value. Waverley Day Centre is one such building.

“The evaluation of social value could result in a discount on market rent of up to 100 per cent, and I believe the Waverley Day Centre will qualify for this.”