Shropshire Star

'Complex' handover of Oswestry youth building creeping closer

Oswestry Town Council will discuss “complex” transfer arrangements for a public building it intends to take over when it meets next week.

The Centre, Oswestry. Photo: Google

Moves to take ownership of the youth services building on Oak Street from Shropshire Council have been complicated by a number of issues with the building’s state of repair, and with ongoing arrangements with tenants of the building, including the New Saints Foundation.

The authority is set to meet behind closed doors to review its draft commercial terms, known as Heads of Terms, with tenants of The Centre on Oak Street before preparing detailed lease agreements to take effect after the town council takes over the building.

“This is a multi-faceted and complex piece of work,” said a report from Town Clerk Arren Roberts.

“One element of this is the future use of the building and the lease. Solicitors are considering the details of the attached Draft Heads of Terms which includes initial comments.

“This needs to be considered by Council who are also asked to give delegated powers to the Town Clerk to allow the lease to be prepared in line with the Draft Terms. In doing so Members may wish to consider any additional terms/criteria.”

Mr Roberts added that hopes of a seamless handover from Shropshire Council to Oswestry Town Council could be “difficult to achieve”.

The council says it has engaged in dialogue with current building users and has set up meetings to manage progress of the scheme, with some concerns about the future operation of the facility still needing to be resolved.

A report discussed by the town council in December revealed the building could need up to £250,000 worth of repairs, including major work to both the roof and heating systems of the facility, with a full programme set to come back before the council in due course.

The facility was unveiled in 2012 as a “state of the art” youth centre by Shropshire Council, but has since fallen into disrepair, with Oswestry Town Council hoping to lead a rescue of the town’s flagship youth services facility when it eventually takes over from Shropshire Council.

Oswestry Town Council will discuss the project during a behind closed doors session when it meets on Wednesday, June 12.