Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Coalville
Contact: Democratic Services 01530 454512
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Councillor A Bridgen.
Declaration of Interests
Under the Code of Conduct members are reminded that in declaring interests you should make clear the nature of that interest and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest, registerable interest or other interest.
Councillors C Benfield, T Eynon, J Geary, Haye and Morris declared that they had entered conversations with public organisations and residents in relation to item 3 – Former Hermitage Leisure Centre Building Future Direction, however maintained an open mind.
Councillor M B Wyatt declared a registerable interest in item 3 - Former Hermitage Leisure Centre Building Future Direction as member of Whitwick Parish Council.
Report of the Head of Property and Economic Regeneration
The Chair welcomed Members to the meeting and due to the complex nature of the item, explained the process to be followed. Reference was made to the petition received as detailed within the report and it was noted that in accordance with the petition scheme, as the lead petitioner was not in attendance, the matter would not be considered at the meeting.
The Chair invited Ms S Colledge, Whitwick Parish Councillor, to address the committee in relation to the Parish Council’s submission detailed within the report and additional papers. She expressed concerns that as a significant stakeholder, Whitwick Parish Council were not involved early enough in the consultation process. The Committee were reminded that the Hermitage Leisure Centre was designated as an Asset of Community Value following the applications from Whitwick Parish Council and it was concerning to see the proposed demolition of the site coming forward. Members were referred to the additional papers which detailed alternative proposals from Whitwick Parish Council for community ownership of the building. Members were asked to give this alternative proposal a chance and if it was not viable after two years, the Council could take the asset back and nothing would be lost. The Committee were urged to support and recommend Whitwick Parish Council’s proposals to Cabinet.
The Chair invited the Committee to ask any questions of Ms Colledge and the following responses were received:
- It was estimated that it would take approximately two years to establish the Community Ownership Fund and to have the building successfully operational.
- Whitwick Parish Council understood that it was the structural building that had been listed as an Asset of Community Value rather than the land as detailed within the report.
- The £2million costs proposed by CBRE within the report were concerning when compared to the lower £80,000 costs proposed by Whitwick Parish Council. Both proposals were prepared by highly respected local companies.
- The accuracy of the report was questionable as Whitwick Parish Council claimed to have evidence that the building construction dates were incorrect.
- In relation to the suggested lack of consultation with Whitwick Parish Council, Ms Colledge explained that officers were regularly asked for updates as it was a standing item on the parish monthly meeting agenda and was told that there were no updates or progress. The parish council were not involved in the consultation until the community feedback event.
The Chair invited Mr R Woodward, representative of the Whitwick Action Group, to address the Committee. He highlighted the work of the group in recent years to protect the green wedge in Whitwick from development, this included campaigning, lobbying, planning appeals and judicial reviews which had all been successful. He reminded Members that the development of the new leisure centre meant the loss of some of the green wedge and therefore the Whitwick Action Group were opposed to any development on the former Hermitage Leisure Centre site and requested that the land be retained as part of the green ... view the full minutes text for item 54.