THE FORMER Royal Naval Club could be incorporated into plans for Leamington’s Creative Quarter.
Warwick District Council had already voted for the vacant building on Adelaide Road to be leased out on a two year basis after the club announced dwindling membership meant it could no longer afford to occupy the site.
But Coun Stef Parkins put forward a motion which called for the lease to be extended to ten years to offer security to the groups which were set to rent it.
The council upheld its original decision, saying a longer lease could prevent the building being used as part of the plans for a Creative Quarter to regenerate the Old Town area.
The building will now be used by Ahmadiyya Muslim Association and Leamington LAMP (Live Arts and Music Project) – which provides education for children with autism and high anxiety.
Coun Parkins said: “I was very disappointed the motion was not carried as it was proposed in response to concerns raised by the invested community groups who were understandably worried about their future prospects.
“The one positive outcome is that we heard very supportive comments in the chamber about the value Warwick District Council places on these groups. Assurances were made that future development will include premises for the use of existing community organisations.
“For the time being we welcome the decision that they will have a secure tenure for the next two years.”
District business spokesman Coun Noel Butler said leasing the site long-term would impact on proposals to include the building in regeneration plans.
He said: “The council supports a wide range of community organisations across the district, many of which are based in council owned buildings.
“We are committed to enhancing this support, so have offered the empty former Royal Naval Club to two local organisations for them to use while we undertake a wider study to see whether the building and those in the vicinity can become part of our exciting and ambitious plans to deliver the Creative Quarter in Leamington. This has the potential to provide new opportunities for a diverse range of creative businesses and community organisations.
“It would have been premature for us to make a long-term decision on the future of these buildings at this stage.”