Northamptonshire County Council will ask for permission to sell the site of the Connaughty Centre in Corby if a report is approved at a meeting of its cabinet next week.
The recommendation to seek permission from the site’s owners to sell the land is made in a cabinet report that outlines the repair bill of up to £700k the council would incur if it continues to be responsible for the site’s buildings.
The council is the leaseholder of the Connaughty Centre and the attached McDiarmid sports hall while the site itself is owned by the Homes & Communities Agency.
Repair and running costs
Deputy Leader, Councillor Heather Smith, said: “Although we are the leaseholder for these buildings, we don’t need them for the purposes of accommodating our staff or providing our own services. These buildings are surplus to our requirements.
“The running costs alone are £78,000 each year and as it stands, it would cost up to £700,000 to carry out all the necessary repairs that have been identified.
“Given the financial challenges facing us, we’ve left no stone unturned in looking at ways of saving money without affecting vital services. Reducing our ever growing property energy and maintenance costs is one way we can save money in the long term so it’s important that we look at the future of the Connaughty Centre in that context.
“It’s also important to remember that the savings for us relate to the running costs. Any sale proceeds would be used exclusively for the benefit of young people, as required by the conditions of the lease.
“We recognise the contribution that Youth Works make to young people in the area and we are committed to working with them to find alternative premises in Corby.”
The Connaughty Centre is currently used by Youth Works, a community interest company that delivers youth work projects and services, as part of a contract they have to provide services for young people on behalf of the council until next May.
The council and Youth Works have been exploring options for Youth Works to continue to work from the Connaughty Centre. It has not been possible to find a financially viable way of securing their continued presence at the site, as this would require the council to retain full responsibility for the lease and its associated capital costs and liabilities.
Find out more
The cabinet meeting will take place at 2pm on Tuesday 12 November in the Blue Room at County Hall. The report can be found on the council’s website:
The land on which these buildings are sited was originally owned by Corby Development Corporation and is now owned by the Homes & Communities Agency.
In 1967 the land was leased to the Trustees of Corby Youth Centre who built a youth centre fronting Cottingham Road, known as Connaughty. The term of the lease runs is from 24 June 1967 to 23 June 2027. A second lease of additional land was granted to the Trustees of Corby Youth Centre in 1971 for the construction of the MacDiarmid Sports Hall to the rear of the youth centre.
In 1972 Northamptonshire County Council was appointed as trustee and leaseholder of the Corby Youth Centre. The conditions of this appointment allow the council to discontinue the use of the centre, with the consent of the Charity Commission, if the council consider that it is necessary or expedient to do so. Those conditions state that if there are any funds remaining in the trust, these should be used for the benefit of young people.