Council asks for views on town hall

Quayside House, formerly the home of Sleaford/Grantham College, now to become Sleaford Town Council's new home. EMN-160425-160252001
Quayside House, formerly the home of Sleaford/Grantham College, now to become Sleaford Town Council's new home. EMN-160425-160252001

Sleaford Town Council is looking to residents to help decide if it should take the plunge and buy, rather than rent, its new town hall premises.

The authority has long aspired to have facilities that it could use both for its own offices and meetings and be available for wider community use.

For 15 years, the council rented a small office unit in Carre Street and hired the Source in Southgate for meetings. Prior to that, it shared premises on the St George’s Academy site.

In 2015, town councillors agreed to move to the former Grantham College building in Navigation Yard to provide facilities for the council and the community. The building was rented on a 12-month lease with an option to buy.

Clerk to the council Kevin Martin explained: “The annual rental for the former college building is significantly higher than the combined rental and hire costs being paid for Carre Street and the Source. The council has reviewed its budgets and found a number of potential efficiency savings to ensure that even with the outwardly higher costs there would be no impact on the cost to the public purse.”

The council is now considering using a combination of its own reserves and a Government mortgage to buy the building as a permanent base.

Mr Martin says: “It is forecast that the council will actually reduce its outgoings as the mortgage repayments will be some £8,000 a year less than the renting option.”

But before making a decision, the council would like to hear residents’ views. A street survey of 200 people last November found 95 per cent in favour of buying the town hall, but the council would still like to hear from any residents or local businesses who may have a view on the matter. Email kevin.martin@sleaford.gov.uk, call 01529 303456, or message the Sleaford Town Council Facebook site.