Former Redditch youth facility sold to private bidder

Redditch Advertiser: Ray and Margaret Groves, Mike Chawner, Councillor Rebecca Blake, and Malcolm Hall, and Terry Miller, who teamed up to save the centre last year. SP Ray and Margaret Groves, Mike Chawner, Councillor Rebecca Blake, and Malcolm Hall, and Terry Miller, who teamed up to save the centre last year. SP

THE site of a former youth facility in Redditch has been sold to a private bidder, despite two town groups bidding to buy it and preserve it for the community.

Worcestershire County Council has sold Redditch Youth House on the open market.

The county council gave the two community groups interested in purchasing the property six months under the Localism Act 'Right to Bid' to raise the necessary funds.

Neither group was able to make an offer that met the market valuation and so the property was then placed on the open market.

Best and final offers were requested through the county council's appointed agents from all interested parties.

Six offers were received through the open market and the highest was accepted on Wednesday , December 18.

Councillor John Campion, Worcestershire County Council cabinet member for transformation and commissioning, said: "As much as we would have liked to proceed with one of the bids from the two local community groups, neither group was able to match the market value.

"Their offers were some 15 per cent and 33 per cent short of the best offer received on the open market. The decision has therefore been reached that the County Council will proceed with the disposal of the building to the highest bidder."

Ray Groves, chair of Redditch Youth and Community Enterprise (RYCE), the group which initially formed to buy the building, said: "We feel Worcestershire County Council has treated the people of Redditch like second class citizens.

"Our bid was about £50,000 short, but that's because a lot of money needs to be spent on the building as in the 40 years the county council has owned it, they have let it deteriorate.

"This could have been a wonderful facility for the town's youth, but the county council's desire for money has taken this away from our youngsters."

He said despite the setback, RYCE was in talks with Redditch Council about a different building which could possibly be bought and developed into a youth facility.

Councillor Rebecca Blake, who was another of the campaigners fighting to keep Redditch Youth House as a community facility, said: "All we hear from the county council is their priority to get as much money from selling Redditch Youth House as possible, while at least three bidders have been overlooked from community projects.

"Meanwhile in Malvern the county council has worked with the community, giving them a lease for their local youth house and a significant grant which has resulted in a thriving community facility.

"The double standards of Worcestershire County Council is unbelievable. I want to know why Redditch is treated less favourably than the south of the county."

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