What next for the Community Business Centre?

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Garstang Town Council will meet on Monday to once again consider the future of the town’s Community and Business Centre.

This time, armed with the knowledge that Wyre Council has agreed to formally list the centre as a Community Asset, councillors must decide where they go next on the issue of how they might retain the buildings as a community asset.

They are being asked to take a slight step forward, with a proposal from a working party set up to consider the whole issue, that the council now needs to “debate and vote on a mandate for the working party to progress the feasability study towards a community buy-out.”

But Bruce Crowther, director of the centre’s main tenants the Fig Tree Fair Trade Centre, has warned time is running out for The Fig Tree.

He says its local future hangs in the balance because it has already been given notice by current centre owners Wyre Council, that its lease will end in November. The council views the whole High Street centre as an “underperforming asset.”

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Council, said: “We intend to continue working with Garstang Town Council to see if we can negotiate a position that benefits the people of Garstang and the taxpayers of Wyre.”

The council stresses the right gives local community groups a fairer chance to make a bid to buy local assets on the open market, but it does not confer a right to buy or a right of first refusal.

In special circumstances community groups can be given time to develop a proposal and raise money.

The town council has a packed agenda for Monday including considering an application to build up to 75 houses at Utopia on Kepple Lane, Garstang and the conversion of the Church Inn (see above). Other issues include an update on repairs to the War Memorial. The council meets at 7.30pm in the community centre. The planning committee meets at 6.45pm and the amenities commitee at 7pm. Members of the public can raise questions or voice matters of concern during the full council meeting.