Fears raised over community centre buy-up

Garstang's mayor Coun Gordon Harter
Garstang's mayor Coun Gordon Harter
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Fears have been raised over plans for a town council to buy a popular community centre.

Garstang Community Centre has been dubbed an underperforming asset by owners Wyre Council and so is a likely candidate for sell-off.

That has sparked discussions within Garstang Town Council about whether the 
authority could buy up the building itself.

But new concerns, raised by Garstang town councillors, include whether a bid to buy the centre would lumber the authority with excessive costs.

The fears were raised as the council voted at its meeting last week to seek 
urgent talks with Wyre Council to see if an agreement could be reached to ensure the buildings continue to 
provide a community function for the town.

Town Mayor Coun Graham Salisbury, chairman of the council working party set up to consider the possible purchase of the High Street centre, provided details of its recent activities.

Coun Salisbury said the working party and council had considered a suggestion that a new look Business Hub could be created at the community centre, which it was predicted could bring in £37,000 per year in office rental income.

But Coun Gordon Harter (pictured) warned for the town council to consider buying, refurbishing, managing and running the centre was “a big ask and a big risk, a really big risk.”

He added there was a lot of emotion about the building, but added: “There’s a time when emotionality comes out and practicality kicks in.”

Fellow town councillor David Williams warned against raising council tax charges as part of a process of buying up the 

The Mayor said the working party had also concluded it would be wrong to raise its precept, but stressed: “I will be really sad to lose this building if we do lose it.”

Noting the building’s good position he predicted it would be needed in the future as the town developed further.