Wed, 23 Aug 2017
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.