Many of Horncastle’s leading sporting clubs face an increasingly secure future as part of a transfer of assets from East Lindsey District Council to the town council.
After months of negotiations between the two authorities, an agreement is in place although final details – including any legal issues – have still to be sorted.
It is understood Horncastle will be one of the first towns in East Lindsey to complete the transfer.
The list of assets includes Horncastle Town Football Club’s ground at The Wong, Horncastle Cricket Club, Horncastle Indoor Bowls Club and Horncastle Outdoor Bowls Club.
The list of buildings includes Stanhope Hall, the Scout Hut and the Air Training Corps headquarters.
In addition, the town council will take on the car park at The Wong and two children’s playgrounds.
The list also includes the Prospect Street site which has been earmarked for the town’s new multi-purpose recreation ground.
The full list is:
•Prospect Street recreation area, including children’s playground and open space;
•Bowling green at Hodson Green;
•Horncastle Town Football Club ground, including access roads;
•The Wong car park (Cattle Market) and access road;
•Hamerton Gardens (off South Street);
•Electricity sub-station(off South Street);
•Scout Hut (Coronation Walk);
•Air Training Cadets HQ (Coronation Walk);
•Children’s playground (off Coronation Walk);
•Horncastle Indoor Bowls Club (Coronation Walk);
•Playing Fields and Sports Pavilion (off Coronation Walk);
•Cricket ground (off Coronation Walk)
•Electricity sub-station (off Coronation Walk).
Any current lease agreements on the above will be transferred on a ‘freehold’ basis from ELDC to the town council.
That means the town council will take on responsibilities of ‘landlord.’
Mayor Fiona Martin told the News the town council did not plan to change any of the current agreements.
However, she said the council was happy to meet the clubs and organisations involved and discuss future arrangements and plans.
Coun Martin, a town and district councillor, said: “Hopefully, the fact that the town council has taken on responsibility will provide much more security going forward.
“If clubs have any plans or concerns then it should be easier to deal with them at a local level than perhaps it sometimes has been with the district council.”
Coun Martin confirmed the town council would receive a small financial return from some rents.
She said final negotiations and legal checks were continuing but hoped the transfer would be completed by September or October.
She also confirmed The Wong car park would continue to be free of charge.
The town council had considered taking on other ELDC-owned car parks Horncastle.
While revenue from car parks would bring a substantial amount of income into the town council’s coffers, there are problems with who would enforce the regulations and maintain the car parks.
It is a similar situation regarding the public toilets in St Lawrence Street.
ELDC did offer to include the toilets as part of the transfer but the town council decided the cost of maintaining and upgrading the building would be prohibitive,
There would be no income from the toilets – unless the town council introduced charges.
Coun Martin did say that the possibility of transferring car parks and the toilets could be returned to at a future date.
She added: “We have considered a number of options but we feel this list (of assets) is the best for Horncastle.”
Coun Martin confirmed a ‘claw back’ arrangement would be put in place, meaning that if any of the sites involved in the asset transfer were sold, ELDC would receive some of proceeds.
The electricity sub-stations are included, largely because they are sited on land included in the transfer. There will be no cost to the council.
She said: “I think that is only to be expected because the district council is basically handing over these assets free of charge.”
Coun Richard Fry, portfolio holder for finance at ELDC, said: “A transfer of a number of assets from East Lindsey District Council to Horncastle Town Council has now been agreed.
“We anticipate the assets will be transferred well before the end of the current financial year.
“We’re pleased to have been able to work with Horncastle Town Council on this and this forms part of our ongoing work to ensure that important assets are managed by local communities.”