Historic Carshalton building is given to the voluntary sector in 'win/win/win situation'
A historic building in Carshalton has been saved from falling into the hands of developers and is to become a hub for Sutton's voluntary sector.
Sutton Council plans to cut the number of buildings it uses and has decided to stop using the Grove in Carshalton. The Grove is part of a collection of historic buildings and land near
Carshalton Ponds and there were concerns about what its future would hold when the council stops using it.
But an agreement has been reached to hand it to Sutton Centre for Voluntary Services (SCVS) - a move that would save the council money from the upkeep of the building and give Sutton's voluntary sector a hub to work from.
The agreement was made at a meeting of Sutton Council's strategy and resources committee last month. Speaking at the meeting, Susanna Bennett, SCVS chief executive, explained how a hub for the borough's voluntary services has been a goal for some time but previous plans have not come to fruition.
She added: "In terms of what we'd like to do, it would become a hub for ourselves and other voluntary organisations. It will allow us to work better together and share back office functions. It will be a centre for volunteering. We want to provide start-up space for new voluntary services and social enterprises."
The move was unanimously backed by councillors at the meeting. Councillor Simon Wales said: "Thanks you to Susanna for her work in helping us realise an acceptable use for this building.
"It's also been a long-standing ambition to set up a voluntary hub and it helps us to rationalise a number of buildings. It's not just a win/win situation, it's a win/win/win situation."
SCVS will be allowed to use the building rent-free for five years under the agreement. It is hoped that during this time SCVS will be able to pull together funding to rent the building from the council. The council will also spend up to £95,000 on the building's roof and other improvements but after that the maintenance will fall to SCVS.
The council has also agreed to let environmental charity EcoLocal have use of the nearby Lodge building and the charity has until September 2014 to submit detailed proposals. The moves will allow the council to relocate its children's services department to it's building in Denmark Road, Carshalton.
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