SHOCK NEWS
Bath Place could be left homeless again

By Kevin Unitt 23/02 Updated: 23/02 13:01

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Buy photos » Bath Place site supervisor Clayton Denwood (right) at the Old Library with Clare Smith, team leader of Warwickshire College Princes Trust and trust students Micheal Bemrose and Aaron Taylor in a room prepared for the County Music Service. 07.012.038.leam.jm1 (www.buyphotos247.com)

BATH Place Community Venture once again faces being left homeless after being served notice to leave its current base in Leamington.

The organisation - which has been running since the mid 1970s and provides mental health services and arts activities plus help to find jobs and cheap healthy meals to more than 100 people a day - has been based at the old library in Avenue Road since 2010 after a fire destroyed its former home in Bath Place the previous year.

But Warwickshire College, which owns the grade-two listed building, this week served a 28-day notice for Bath Place to quit the premises.

College bosses revealed, just hous before Bath Place held its AGM at the site on Tuesday night (February 21), they were already “in discussion with a developer” for the site.

Chris Paget, executive director at Warwickshire College, added in a statement: “The facilities at Bath Place were offered to the community rent-free and their use was always understood to be a temporary ‘stop-gap’ measure and was never intended to be permanent.

“Warwickshire College has been proud to support the Bath Place Community Venture over the past two years.”

Just last week the Observer ran an in-depth feature on the venture's struggle to secure a long-term future.

Bath Place site supervisor Clayton Denwood told us the lack of a secure tenure over the old library building made it “extremely difficult” to raise funding for services.

But he added Bath Place remained a “great example of what's possible when the community works together” and insisted it still had a powerful vision for future potential.

Mr Denwood said this week: "The Bath Place Community Venture has just received notice to quit from its landlord Warwickshire College. The venture now now finds itself in one of its most challenging situations in its history. The old library building is a wonderful and much loved base for our essential and highly valued community activities.

"There is a huge amount of passion about what we do, and how we might now continue elsewhere, and in what form. Our options are unfortunately limited at present , but we are determined to work urgently with all partners, including the local councils, the college, and other key agencies to explore every possible option.

"We will be deciding how to handle what is obviously a huge and multi-faceted challenge.

"We would ask all of our supporters and those with bookings, projects and long-term arrangements to get in touch to discuss the ramifications and logistics in the short term and please be patient and we try to find a way forward that is in the best interests of everyone involved."

Warwick District Council, which owns the former art gallery and museum next door to the old library building – currently home to Leamington’s Community Arts Workshop (CAW) – is also believed to have committed to selling its part of the historic building to developers, but had not confirmed its intentions at the time of going to press.

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Buy photos» The venture’s former home in Bath Place after it was ravaged by fire in 2009. 40.09.024.leam.jm2

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