Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 14th July 2011
Title of Item/Report
Thornaby Town Hall
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report relating to the development and regeneration of Thornaby Town Hall.

Members were reminded that on the 13 March 2008 Cabinet endorsed, in principle, the freehold sale of Thornaby Town Hall and approved the recommendation to invite Python Properties as preferred developer to work up and agree detailed proposals and business plan based on their indicative submission for a viable and sustainable scheme for Thornaby Town Hall that incorporated Thornaby Town Council as an existing tenant and Thornaby Heritage Group as a future occupier on completion of the project.
Attempts were made both from Council officers and Python Properties to discuss and gain Thornaby Town Council's and Thornaby Heritage Group's approval for a new lease covering office accommodation within the refurbished building. However, it was recognised that the prospect of agreement was extremely unlikely and a notice to terminate Thornaby Town Council's lease was served on the Town Council order to provide vacant possession of the building which would allow the development to proceed.
This was challenged in court by Thornaby Town Council and the Court found in favour of the Town Council and the subsequent judgement entitled them to a new lease arrangement with the Council.
As a consequence of the court decision, Python Properties withdrew from the project resulting in the need for the Authority to revisit development options for the regeneration of Thornaby Town Hall.
Members considered the various development options available to the Council to enable the refurbishment of Thornaby Town Hall and a detailed analysis of each was provided. The options were as follows:

A. invite ideas & proposals from interested parties who feel they can offer a workable / viable solution or package for the long-term use of the building, thus securing its future for years ahead;

B. Stockton on Tees Borough Council develop the building
C. Do nothing
Each option had been assessed against deliverability and risk criteria such as ability to be delivered, attractiveness to the market, availability of Council resources, external funding opportunities, political acceptability and procurement issues.
Members noted that, from the options analysis undertaken, officers considered that Option A represented the most deliverable way forward. The marketing of the building would allow all interested parties from all sectors to come forward and submit ideas and proposals to the Council. These would then be assessed against strict deliverability criteria allowing the most sustainable proposal to go forward. It was therefore suggested that members authorise officers to take forward Option A as stated in the recommendations below.

Cabinet noted what the next stages, timescales and financial implications of pursuing this proposal.

1. the current position of the project be noted.

2. officers be authorised to progress Option A as identified in the report, namely to invite ideas & proposals from interested parties who feel they could offer a workable / viable solution or package for the long-term use of the building, thus securing its future for years ahead.

3. officers be authorised to invite interested parties to submit proposals including appropriate documentation detailing their ideas for the building for consideration by appropriate officers and members.

4. the Corporate Director of Resources in consultation with the Corporate Director of Development and Neighbourhood Services, the Director of Law and Democracy and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport be authorised to draw up the necessary documentation required to progress Option A as identified in the report.

5. the Head of Legal Services be authorised to agree the associated terms in relation to the above decision and the Council's Scheme of Delegation.
Reasons for the Decision
To seek positive ideas and proposals for the sustainable future use of the building.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Option B - Stockton on Tees Borough Council develop the building.
Option C - Do nothing.

See appendix to report considered
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Not applicable
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Not later than Midnight on Friday 22 July 2011

Date of Publication: 18 July 2011

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