go

Conservatives to seek valuations on Thatcham Priory with intent to sell the building

Tories say the building will likely be sold at a loss

John Herring

Reporter:

John Herring

Contact:

01635 886633

Conservatives to seek valuations on Thatcham Priory with intent to sell the building

THATCHAM Conservatives have announced that the Priory is likely to be sold at a loss, spelling the end of the Liberal Democrat plan to use the building for community use.

The Conservatives voted to seek formal evaluations for the Grade-II listed building at an extraordinary meeting to discuss the project’s future on Tuesday.

Councillors viewed a breakdown of the costs for completing the project; making savings by reducing the scope of the works; and killing the project.

The then Liberal Democrat-controlled town council purchased the Grade-II listed building from West Berkshire Council for £400,000 in 2009.

An estimated £815,000 price has been given for refurbishing the building and around £300,000 has been spent on work so far.

And £740,000 has been borrowed from the government’s public works loan board to fund the project.

Speaking at the meeting Roger Croft (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) said the refurbished building had received a market appraisal of between £625,000 and £650,000; resulting in a loss of around £600,000.

Mr Croft said the previous administration “had done a fine job of destroying Thatcham residents’ money”, adding that the Conservatives wanted to carry out a formal valuation “to see how much value had been destroyed”.

Leader of Thatcham’s Liberal Democrat opposition Lee Dillon (Thatcham North) said that another valuation was not needed as the council’s plan would deliver a building for community use.

Mr Croft also said that the timetable had slipped from December to January and that the price had soared above the original estimate, with a “staggering” contingency fund of £400.

“The contingency was destroyed when they went through the door,” he said, adding that the Conservatives would do “everything in their power” to keep the price down.

He also claimed the Lib Dems had started working on the project just days before the May elections.

But Mr Dillon responded that West Berkshire Council had delayed the plans and accused Mr Croft of “making insinuations” from the chair. 

“If you’re going to chair, at least chair it impartially,” Mr Dillon said.

“I find it hard to be impartial when you have destroyed £1.2m of Thatcham residents’ money,” Mr Croft replied.

Mr Croft said the first block of Government cash was running out and that another £500,000 would be needed to finish the building, with “a cheaper and more flexible option” being to borrow from West Berkshire Council; particularly as it was likely that the building would be sold.

The recommendation to seek a formal valuation on the building will go before the Conservative-dominated council at 6.45pm on Monday.

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on Newbury Weekly News

Characters left: 1000

Article comments

  • jb_007uk

    jb_007uk

    09/08/2015 - 19:07

    Criminal abuse of power. Roger Croft is leading the majority of new council members down his long established path of opposing the Liberal Democrats at every decision. I doubt very much if those new council members are aware of the details of the project that would see it delivered at no extra cost to the tax payer in council tax rises because of the income generated from renting out space in the new building and the old council offices. Not only will it be delivered to thatcham at no cost but due to the arrangements of the public works board loan, the fixed interest rate means repayments will be always the same whilst renting out the space will generate more income as those rates increase. This is the same Roger Croft who opposed the Lib Dem plans to guarantee the Memorial trust that the council will fund the insurance costs for Thatcham War Memorial that honours those 'Who gave their all', and why? Because it was a Lib Dem idea? Some Tory will benefit from this decision no doubt.

    Reply

    • jb_007uk

      jb_007uk

      10/08/2015 - 09:09

      Just to clarify, 'criminal abuse' is used in this instance as a figure of speech expressing great displeasure and in no way suggesting an unlawful act......

      Reply

    • jb_007uk

      jb_007uk

      09/08/2015 - 19:07

      It is also worth noting that the Police would have been accommodated in this building, and should the priory and the Hub which sits in its grounds be sold off, then the future of police presence in Thatcham will seriously be in doubt.

      Reply

  • Wulfrunian

    09/08/2015 - 09:09

    It brings to mind Oscar Wilde's saying about people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    Reply

Thatcham

New Thatcham Rainbows make their promise
Thatcham

New Thatcham Rainbows make their promise

Ten girls join new Guiding unit

 
Blaze at Thatcham industrial unit
News

Blaze at Thatcham industrial unit

Three fire engines called to scene

 
News

Plans for extra parking at Thatcham's sports ground go in

2comments

 
Thatcham

Carol concert will boost cancer and renal unit appeal

 
Thatcham

Great Thatcham Santa Run gathering momentum