Warwick District Council’s Full Council meeting on 8 August rejected a call from a group of Councillors to change a previous decision.
The Motion presented to Council called for the decision made by Executive on 5 April 2018 to let the vacant former Royal Naval Club in the Adelaide Bridge area on a two year temporary lease to be changed, in favour of a minimum ten year lease. This would have removed the building from the feasibility exercise currently being undertaken by the Council, as part of its Creative Quarter initiative and restricted the facilities to community use only for the foreseeable future.
After debating the Motion the majority of the Council voted to uphold the previous decision. This means that a two year lease can now be offered to the neighbouring Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, which will enable the Leamington Arts and Music Project, also based nearby to use part of the building too. Councillors were assured that the lease would have no break clauses during the two year period.
Following the April decision the Council asked its Creative Quarter regeneration partner, Complex Development Projects, to prioritise the production of a feasibility study for the area to identify possible alternative uses of the land and buildings around the Adelaide Bridge car park and establish how this could help the delivery of its wider Creative Quarter regeneration plans for the Leamington Old Town area. This work has already commenced and will be the subject of a future report to the Executive.
Cllr. Noel Butler, Portfolio Holder for Business, said; “The Council supports a wide range of community organisations across the district, many of which are based in council owned buildings. We are committed to enhancing this support, so have offered the empty former Royal Naval Club to two local organisations for them to use while we undertake a wider study to see whether the building and those in the vicinity can become part of our exciting and ambitious plans to deliver the Creative Quarter in Leamington. This has the potential to provide new opportunities for a diverse range of creative businesses and community organisations. It would therefore have been premature for us to make a long-term decision on the future of these buildings at this stage.”
During the debate concerns were also raised on the current lack of security afforded to LAMP through the terms of their current tenancy. Councillors were advised that LAMP will also be offered a 2 year lease, with no break clauses, for their current property to address these concerns and that a long term solution to their accommodation needs will be addressed through the Creative Quarter masterplanning process.