Tories Create Uncertainty Over Future Of Grange Community Centre




Grange Community Centre

On Thursday night there was a strange, rather worrying debate at the District Council about the Grange Community Centre in Rayleigh. The lease on the building is coming up for renewal, and the officers were recommending that we renew the lease to the Rayleigh Grange Community Association for another 20 years. They wrote To provide certainty about the Council?s continued support for the centre, a further 21-year lease is recommended. The recent White Paper Strong and Prosperous Communities encourages local authorities to foster community participation through community management of local community halls

However we’d heard rumours that the Tory group weren’t going to support this. And that’s indeed what happened:

  • The Tory ward councillor Joan Mockford spoke first and appeared to be in favour of renewal of the lease as recommended.
  • Tory Colin Seagers from Great Wakering then piped up with a question about the length of the lease (20 years)and why the conditions were different from other places.
  • The Council Chief Executive Paul Warren explained that a shorter lease would make it difficult to get grant funding from outside bodies?
  • Rayleigh Tory Jim Grey then voiced concerns that this didn?t seem right and proposed that a full structural survey should be carried out (he?s obviously never seen the building which is in A1 condition) to see if the community association had adhered to the terms of the lease and that the officers look at ?harmonising? the various different leases.(to achieve a level playing field!!!) and report back to some committee after the election!
  • This was seconded by Colin Seagers.
  • Then the ward councillor Joan Mockford then changed her view and agreed with this, coming into line with the Tory whip.
  • This was put to the vote with Ron speaking against ,calling it ‘mean’
  • Voting was 7 for and 1 against (recorded)
  • Approx 8 members of the public then left
  • Are the Tories simply being unhelpful towards the community association? Or is someone actually planning to take back the building and knock it down to build some of the 1800 houses they are talking about for Rayleigh?


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