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Greenham Parish Council to apply for £95,000 Control Tower loan

Loan will not mean precept increase, says councillor

Chris Ord

Reporter:

Chris Ord

Contact:

01635 886639

Future of iconic Greenham Control Tower is put in doubt

GREENHAM Parish Council is seeking a loan of more than £95,000 to complete its conversion of the iconic Greenham Control Tower into a café and visitor centre.

The parish council has submitted an application to the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) to fund the completion of the work.

If successful, the loan will be paid back over the next 17 years and take the total spend on the project to £895,229 – £116,919 of which has come from parish council coffers.

According to the council, the annual loan repayments will come to around £6,700 a year and will be repaid from the precept budget.

However, the council has said the cost of the repayments would not be passed on to residents, and that there would be no increase to the precept as a result of the loan.

Control tower committee chairman Jon Gage said submitting the application would be a milestone for the project.

“It’s a big moment,” he said. “Hopefully the loan will be successful and that will then trigger the sending-out of the tender process by the project manager, Place Partnerships.

“At the moment, for the foreseeable it isn’t deemed necessary to increase the precept.

“Obviously we can’t say that it won’t go up, but it won’t need to go up as a result of the loan.”

The project will see the Grade-II listed building turned into a café, with a visitor centre and an interpretation area offering an insight into the history of the control tower and the surrounding area.

Mr Gage said the planned works will take 22 weeks to complete, meaning the council will struggle to meet the end-of-the-year deadline it had set in the summer.

As well as using more than £116,000 of its own funds for the scheme, Greenham Parish Council also received funding from a range of sources, including a £420,000 government grant.

The remaining works will cost a total of £155,310 with £60,000 remaining of the existing budget.

The funds will cover what is left of the construction work (overseen by Place Partnerships), as well as legal fees, installing the interpretation area and a £10,000 initial support fund for the charitable trust that would eventually take on the running of the facility.

The project has been hit by problems throughout its four-year history, with the council’s prior management of the redevelopment having been criticised.

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Article comments

  • Justin S

    23/08/2017 - 18:06

    Dont forget we havent bought saucers and tea pots yet, so that will be another loan of ten grand, with dollies and cake stands.................

    Reply

  • NewburyLad

    23/08/2017 - 17:05

    Why not put the homeless in the building?

    Reply

  • jackboy

    23/08/2017 - 13:01

    So the cost of repaying the loan will not be met by the residents? Perhaps Greenham Parish Council could publish how their funding works. I am sure there are many other local councils who would love to know the secret of borrowing money to fund essential services without having to increase residents council tax. What rubbish!

    Reply

  • philjay2

    23/08/2017 - 09:09

    This building was a bog standard control tower for an airfield like so many others on military airfields with no architectural merit. Why anyone thought it wise to spend public money on converting it to a cafe is beyond me. If the idea had been viable then an enterprising business would have taken on the task. I suspect the customer base would just about support a mobile tea and fry-up van such as is seen in lay- bys along our roads.

    Reply

    • Starlords Mum

      24/08/2017 - 17:05

      I cant help but completely agree with you! What an absolute hash the parish council has made of this!

      Reply

    • Bombey

      23/08/2017 - 13:01

      Enterprising businesses did try & buy it. Greenham PC had first refusal. I suspect your notion about customer base is ill founded & based on your own usage & expectations.

      Reply

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