“No appetite” to raise rents for Kenilworth community centres

The Kenilworth Centre
The Kenilworth Centre
  • Peppercorn rents for The Kenilworth Centre and Waverley Day Centre are safe from rent increases, assure councillors
  • Warwickshire County Councillors will discuss its estates programme next week
  • The centres are two of scores of projects supported through nominal rents from the council

Peppercorn rents for two of Kenilworth’s community ventures are likely to remain in place, but cannot continue open ended, say councillors.

The Kenilworth Centre and Waverley Day Centre buildings are leased from Warwickshire County Council (WCC)on five-yearly nominal rent agreements.

These centre provide vital community services and there is no appetite from me or anyone else to take this help away

Cllr Alan Cockburn

Both are up for renewal by the end of next year and will be discussed as part of wider discussions about council owned buildings next week.

Trustees and volunteers at the centres have previously said that being faced with increased commercial rents could drastically threaten services.

But WCC’s deputy leader, Alan Cockburn (Con, St John’s) who sits on the corporate services committee, said there was “no appetite” to cut around £250,000 spent on community facilities such as the town’s two centres.

“These centre provide vital community services and there is no appetite from me or anyone else to take this help away,” he said.

“These projects need the support of the council, as far as I am concerned we are happy to keep them going and that will be agreed next week.

“But these grants cannot be open ended forever because of changes down the line.

“It is something we will continue to review every few years as is now the case.”

The two schemes were offered peppercorn rents by the county council after it withdrew funding for the elderly and youth services.

The Waverley Road centre relies entirely on donations and grants after having all council funding cut in 2013.

The Abbey End centre was taken over as a county council funded youth service four years ago and now relies on private income and donations from the town council.

This town council funding is being reconsidered as the centre heads to wards the end of four years of £30,000 of annual payments.

The council spends up to £700,000 a year on peppercorn rents for a range of services, all of which will be discussed by the corporate services overview and scrutiny committee on Wednesday.