The below information is supplied by Joe Griffiths
"Since the original lease expired, the people of Lymm have been in danger of losing their community facility in the village centre. To try to move progress a meeting was recently arranged with Councillors Barr, Marks and Woodyatt from Warrington Borough Council representing, and elected by, the people of Lymm. Lymm Youth and Community Centre Management Committee prepared a Position Statement which the Councillors were happy to agree with a few minor adjustments as set out below:
“In 1966, the Lymm Urban District Council granted a 40 year lease on land it owned in Bridgewater St, to a voluntary management committee led by Sir Oswald Davies, in order that this committee could construct a building for a Youth Centre with money raised by voluntary subscription from the local community, with the intention that renewal of that lease would secure community provision in Lymm for the future. That Youth Centre opened in 1967 and has operated without a break to the present day. It has always welcomed in the wider local community and in recent times it has broadened its title to Lymm Youth and Community Centre.
With local government re-organisation in the 1970s, ownership of the land and the lease on it transferred to Warrington District Council, though provision of Youth Services remained a responsibility of Cheshire County Council and the centre continued to provide a very full 7 day programme for the community. Unfortunately in subsequent years, support for Youth Service provision declined and seems to have been further reduced since Warrington was granted unitary status and Warrington Borough Council assumed responsibility for this provision.
This slow decline seems to have climaxed around the time of the expiry of the original 40 year lease in 2006; and when the Borough Council laid claim to ownership of the building the original committee began to disintegrate and become dysfunctional. People who were involved at that time believe this was due to unreasonable pressure and demands from Warrington BC who they believe had other plans for the site. As a result the lease has yet to be renewed.
A new management committee is now in place and has extensively renovated the building, ensuring it fully complies with current regulations; and already has initiated an expanding programme of use on every day of the week. This management committee has, at its core, several longstanding residents of Lymm with a history of long involvement in many successful local organisations and who have been involved with activities in the building since its inception. This committee is willing to take over management of the building and ensure the provision of a Youth and Community facility in Lymm which is self-sufficient. However to achieve this, it needs the security of a long lease at a sustainable rent on acceptable terms.
We therefore request that we are offered a new lease, with option to renew, based largely on the terms of the original lease and hope that the general principles of this can be achieved at this meeting. We understand that, while Warrington Borough Council has no firm plans, one of the options being considered for the surrounding area might include a prestigious multi-million pound waterside development. We would have no objection to such a development including a refurbished Youth and Community Centre at its heart, if we can achieve a satisfactory agreement today.
We hope that we can, by working together, achieve an agreement which will secure long-term youth and community provision at the heart of the village centre; and together be leaders in service provision in the UK. We would be happy to ensure the credit for these exiting developments was appropriately publicly acknowledged.”
The Lymm Youth and Community Centre Management Committee welcome the co-operative response from the Councillors and look forward to positive developments in the future.>
Editor’s note: Officers of Warrington Borough Council are currently offering only a one year lease which excludes the Centre from applying for grants and prevents development.
For more information please contact Neville Davies on 01925-755757