Wyre centre taken over by church

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Community leaders have told of their joy after a deal was secured for the sale of a public building to a popular church group.

Wyre Council has agreed to sell the former Frank Townend Centre to Cleveleys Community Church and Centre.

We’ve built it up to become a focal point of the community

Cleveleys Community Church and Centre took over management of the Kensington Road venue in 2010 while the council retained responsibility for maintenance and repairs.

The partnership has been a great success with community users increasing greatly in the years since and a wide range of classes and activities for all ages now on offer, along with room hire and catering facilities.

Coun Alan Vincent, Wyre Council deputy leader and cabinet member with responsibility for estates at Wyre Council, said the centre would continue to thrive under its new ownership.

He added: “Cleveleys Community Church and Centre has been running the building since October 2010 and during that time the number of groups using it has increased.

“I’m confident that success will continue because of their drive, enthusiasm and commitment to the community.”

Rev Stephen Scholes, minister of Cleveleys Community Church, said: “Since taking over the centre we’ve built it up to become a focal point for the community – it is used for everything from educational classes and art groups to dog training and blood donations.

“Once we have complete ownership we intend to do more of the same and add to what’s available, and to carry out renovations to make it an even better place.

“The building will always be used as a community centre and church for the people of Cleveleys.”

The deal includes a restriction on the future of the centre to community use only under the Local Government Act 1972, which allows local authorities to dispose of property for less than normal market value where it will help secure the social wellbeing of the area.

As a result the building has been valued as a community asset and will be sold as such, freeing up funds to finance future council spending.

Wyre Council is expecting a shortfall in funding of around £3m by 2018 and continues to review every aspect of how the council operates, while protecting frontline services.