County Council: Horncastle Youth Centre is safe to use

Horncastle Youth Centre. EMN-190716-091623001
Horncastle Youth Centre. EMN-190716-091623001

Efforts to save Horncastle Youth Centre have reached a ‘sensitive phase’ according to the chairman of a working group.

Clubs and organisations using the centre have been given notice to leave on September 30.

After negotiations by the Horncastle Youth Centre Working Group, Lincolnshire County Council have now confirmed that there are no longer any electrical safety concerns which would force the building to close at the end of the month.

“Our contractor has carried out the works that were a risk,” a representative of the LCC Corporate Property team told the Group,

“I have had an electrician in attendance this week to confirm that this is the case.”

Town councillor Dominic Hinkins (Chair of the Working Group) and town and county councillor Bill Aron expressed their gratitude to LCC for their help so far.

Coun Hinkins said: “We are now entering a sensitive phase, as the notice date given to users – September 30 – is just days away.

“Thanks to Bill, LCC have provided us with some really useful information and assistance which will help us put together our business plan, but it will take a few months to complete the process.

“In the meantime, we are really hopeful we can reach an interim agreement that will keep the Centre open after October 1, for all the groups that use it.

“At this stage we have done all we can to facilitate a short term solution.

“The County Council has acknowledged our offer to take on the building for the next year, raising funds to pay all the running and maintenance costs which aren’t covered by rent income.

“They have confirmed it is safe to use, and there is no risk to users. The ball is really in their court.”

Coun Hinkins went on to confirm all the users of the centre wanted to stay.

He added: “The Working Group and the building users are very anxious to ensure they can stay – we are cutting it really fine, as negotiations and inspections have been time consuming, but LCC can still come through for us at the eleventh hour.

“If LCC give us an agreement to sign, this will guarantee that the groups which have not secured a viable alternative venue don’t have to fold in October, or suspend their activities.”

Fundraising has already begun, with Horncastle Town Council agreeing to donate £1,000 to the project at its September meeting,

There are more pledges and offers of help poised and ready to go - once a short term lease agreement is in place.

Coun Hinkins added: “The Working Group wishes to thank everyone for their offers of support and fundraising ideas, and your patience while discussions proceed.”