Garstang town councillors and the community are being urged to move swiftly if the proposed sell-off of the town’s old council offices and community centre falls through.
Building owner Wyre Council has given potential purchaser Keyworker Homes of Blackpool an end of May deadline to exchange contracts.
Keyworker wants to convert the empty block into flats and build shops or a supermarket next to the flats.
Wyre recently said if the deadline is not met the council would have to consider re-marketing the 105 year old building.
With the possibility of the building being put back on the market, Town Coun Roger Brooks wants the town council to call a special meeting.
Coun Brooks said: “In the event of the former council offices being placed on the market for sale I would like to see an extraordinary meeting of the town council be arranged forthwith following the announcement, to consider a proposal that the town council seeks expressions of interest from businesses and members of the public to purchase the building with the primary purpose of community use.”
He added: “The resolution is not asking town councillors to vote on the future of the building but simply to call an urgent meeting to discuss options should Keyworker fail to exchange contracts by the end of the month. If KWH do commit then my proposal falls.”
The saga of the old council office sell-off has rumbled on for several years, with hopes expressed at various times that there could be some kind of community buyout of the building. None of the hopes have so far come to fruition.
In a background note to town councillors Cllr Brooks says: “The Town Council successfully submitted an application to Wyre Council to register the building a community asset but subsequently, when offered the opportunity to purchase the building as a community asset for approximately £250,000, declined.”
“The building was advertised by Wyre Council and a purchaser emerged, Keyworker Homes (KWH) Ltd. Although actual figures have not been made public, it is believed that KWH agreed to pay Wyre £1.5 million for the building and adjoining car park.
"They submitted plans to demolish and rebuild the building and to erect a block of flats on the car park adjacent to the river. As a result of protests by members of the public led by Action Garstang the plan to build flats was withdrawn.
“On March 22, 2017 Wyre Planning Committee approved plans submitted by KWH to develop the building and part of the car park.
"The price to be paid by KWH was reduced significantly.”
The saga of the old council office sell-off has rumbled on for several years, with hopes expressed at various times that there could be some kind of community buyout of the building. None off the hopes have come to fruition.
Coun Brooks’ proposal will be discussed at next week’s meeting of Garstang Town Council on Monday, May 21.