THE row over the sale of Community House in Redditch rumbles on as the council insists the leaseholder was informed.

Redditch Borough Council resolved to sell Community House on Easemore Road to make way for development at an Executive meeting on July 12.

The decision has been met with a huge backlash from Gemini Dance Studio, which uses the building, calling on the council to ‘un-resolve’ their action.

Trustees of the building have maintained they were not aware of any closure threat and the building is not in a state of disrepair.

However, a conditions survey was undertaken at the end of last year where it was discovered it would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to repair the building.

Redditch Borough Council said during this time discussions were had with the leaseholder, Redditch Common Neighbourhood Trust (RCNT), about the closure of the building.

Leader of the council, Matt Dormer said: “We have communicated with all of our tenants affected by the changes at Community House however I do accept that there were gaps with some of the groups regarding timeliness and consistency.

“This is because many of these groups did not have a contract directly with the council, and it was the responsibility of their landlord, Redditch Common Neighbourhood Trust (RCNT) who had sub-let the premises, to let them know.

“We recognise the important part all these groups play within our community and will continue to work with all tenants to make sure they are suitably housed and find alternative venues within the borough which will meet their needs.”

In response, Gary Roskell, trustee of Redditch Common Neighbourhood Trust (RCNT), maintains that they were not told about any proposals to close the building.

He said that during the survey last year, he was told the building would be renovated and charities and organisations would be “temporarily relocated”.

“How could we have informed our tenants if we didn’t know about the threat of closure ourselves?” said Gary.

“There’s nothing like Community House in Redditch. It’s disgraceful how this process has been handled.”

A Redditch Borough Council spokesperson said: "As part of the conditions survey, closure of the building would have been put forward, considering the very high cost of potential repairs, as part of discussions with our tenants in November and December 2021.

“We did ask, twice, for the details of the sub-tenants, so we could communicate with them, but we didn’t receive them.”

The spokesperson also said the council were told by RCNT that once concessionary rents were removed in 2024, they would look elsewhere for accommodation by April 2023 as they would not be able to afford the rent.

In 2020, as a cost-cutting measure, it was approved that the council’s ‘Concessionary Rents Scheme’ for Voluntary Community Sector groups would be stopped by 2024.

"The council continues to work with community groups to find alternative, suitable accommodation,” added the spokesperson.

RCNT was formed in 1988 and granted the lease of Community House by the Commission for New Towns.

Ownership of the hall was subsequently passed to Redditch Borough Council which continues to lease the building to RCNT.