October 24th, 2016

Bath Place facing the end

Bath Place facing the end Bath Place facing the end
Updated: 3:04 pm, May 07, 2015

THE END could be approaching for a community group described as being part of the ‘DNA of Leamington.’

Bath Place Community Venture (BPCV) has been mothballed for the past six years ever since its home was gutted by fire in 2009.

The former Victorian school in Old Town – BPCV’s home since 1974 – was put on the market by owners Warwickshire County Council in August 2013, and among those in the running to secure the site was the charity.

A team of volunteers had developed plans to regenerate the building and create a large community space, up to ten meeting rooms, an IT suite, a family centre, a café and a creative studio.

But last May council chiefs voted to give the site to HB Community Solutions – a company understood to provide new-build supported living accommodation – leaving the group and its supporters devastated.

The council also insisted an £876,000 insurance payout would go into council coffers rather than to BPCV.

With the former All Saints’ School remaining a burnt out shell since the fire in 2009, the dedicated volunteers have kept up the fight and still await confirmation over both the fate of the insurance money and the future of their former home.

And following the charity’s AGM this week, the board admitted the end could be nigh for BPVC.

Chair of BPCVs board of trustees, David Williams, said: “Monday was an important milestone in identifying our future.

“We need to know for certain whether the insurance claim will progress any further and whether the site at All Saints’ School will be unavailable to us before a final decision on continuation of the organisation is made.

“Once we have clear answers to these questions BPCV will call an Extraordinary General Meeting after Easter to finalise its position.

“Clearly if we have negative answers to the above questions it is likely the board will recommend closure of BPCV’s charity and company as the cost and purpose of sustaining these will pointless.”

He maintained the organisation could continue on a virtual basis if it had a positive response to the issues but that a ‘radical’ shake up of the management and governance structure would be required.

A spokesman from Warwickshire County Council confirmed the council had exchanged contracts with the developer who would work to their own programme regarding planning and building work.

The Observer was unable to contact HB Community Solutions.

The group’s former site was a hub of activity for more than three decades with a café offering value vegetarian meals, volunteering opportunities, a nursery and mental health services prior to the devastating blaze that made them homeless.