Rent freeze for St Neots community groups
COMMUNITY groups in St Neots will be spared the blow of a rent increase at buildings managed by the town council. Councillors have agreed to defer a rent review on three of the town s community buildings because of the difficult economic period. The goo
COMMUNITY groups in St Neots will be spared the blow of a rent increase at buildings managed by the town council.
Councillors have agreed to defer a rent review on three of the town's community buildings because of the "difficult" economic period.
The goodwill gesture is subject to legal advice, but has been made to help support the town during the recession.
At their meeting last Wednesday (April 7) councillors deferred a rent review on the St Neots Museum, Eaton Socon's Ex-Servicemen's Club and Jubilee Hall, Eaton Socon.
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The buildings are subject to rent reviews every seven years and a report carried out said all three should be increased in line with market values.
However, Cllr Paul Ursell suggested the deferral and was supported by Cllr Julia Hayward who said: "We should think of the benefits these buildings bring to the town. We can't risk putting up rents and losing them."
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Cllr Steve van de Kerkhove agreed and added: "Best value doesn't just mean what appears on the balance sheet. As a town council it is our duty to provide best value to the people of this town by preserving these community facilities."
However, Cllr Jennifer Bird disagreed about deferring the rent review on the ex-servicemen's club.
"I do not feel the people of the town should be subsidising the working men's club," she said.
"The economic climate could be worse in a year, how will we judge that and what will we do then?"
The council's finance officer, Beverley Porter, said there may be legal problems with deferring the rent review and she would need to check the contracts.
She said letters would be sent to those affected.