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Decision details

Walkley Library - Proposed Disposal

Decision Maker: Leader of the Council

Decision status: Item Called In

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Decision:

That the Leader:

 

(i) Approves the disposal of the Walkley Library property to Forum Café Bars subject to an identified area of the refurbished building being leased back to the Council for 125 years at a peppercorn rent to enable a library to be run from the premises;

 

(ii) Approves the Council granting a sub-lease of the designated library space to Walkley Carnegie Library Group to run as an Associate (independent) library; and

 

(iii) delegates authority the Director of Capital and Major Projects to conclude negotiations with the the two parties in consultation with the Head of Libraries and Community Services, including the authority to agree a revised purchase, should this be required as a result of the space being reconfigured, to agree the commuted sum for maintenance and utilities costs and to instruct the Director of Legal Services to complete the required legal documentation.

 

Reasons for the decision:

The disposal of the site to Forum Café Bars will:

 

·         enable the conversion and complete refurbishment of the library building to provide a café bar and library as a joint facility

·         secure a newly refurbished designated library space within the building in a cost-effective way (including maintenance costs for the first 21 years of the lease) for the benefit of local people to be run by a voluntary community group (Walkley Carnegie Library Group)

·         help to stimulate the local economy through investment, cultural events and new employment opportunities

 

Alternative options considered:

Lease to Walkley Carnegie Library Group.

This option would give the group complete control of the whole of the building and enable them to raise funding independently. However, funding is not guaranteed and refurbishment of the building would inevitably be delayed. The option would not bring the wider benefits to the local economy anticipated from the creation of the café bar.

 

Disposal to Forum Café Bars

This option would pass complete control to Forum Café Bars, who would be obliged to run a library from the property for a period of time. However, the future of the library could not be guaranteed in the medium to longer term and the venture would not benefit from the skills and abilities of the local group.

 

Lease to Forum Café Bars

Forum Café Bars has advised that this is not a viable option for it - the freehold interest is required to provide security for the considerable investment proposed for the property.

Publication date: 01/07/2015

Date of decision: 30/06/2015

Issue status: The decision is currently being reconsidered

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