Community rooms to be rented out by district council

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COUNCIL bosses hope to raise more than £100,000 by renting out community rooms at its sheltered housing complexes.

South Holland District Council says the 14 community rooms it manages are currently under used and it has been approached by the Lincolnshire Active Community Network (LACN) to open them up for sporting activities.

The LACN is owned by the Lincolnshire Sports Partnership and it reckons it could use up 80 per cent of the free time at the community rooms, making £77,280 in the first year alone to be shared equally with the council.

The rooms would be used for “chair based” activities such as art classes, light exercise and computer lessons, “floor based” activities such as yoga, samba dancing and new age kurling and for hire for meetings.

They would not be available for parties or discos.

The council decided to go along with the LACN plans in a bid to make an expected £38,640 in 2011/12 and £115,920 by 2013/14.

This deal follows plans to rent out a room at its Priory Road offices in Spalding to the Tax Office to raise cash as the authority looks to get more out of its assets in the face of spending cuts.

Council deputy leader Nick Worth said: “We are particularly looking at making use of them for healthy activities - we are trying to get older people involved in activities that might not necessarily be that physically active but are healthy.

“Those community facilities are under used and they need to generate a bit more revenue to make them pay their own way a bit more.”

Coun Worth expects the move may not be popular with residents in sheltered housing complexes, but says that the authority has to look beyond that criticism.

He said: “The residents are used to having it just for themselves but as a council we have to look beyond that a little bit.

“Those rooms have got to have a community use otherwise they are not good value for money - including for the residents as tax payers.”

The council has 29 sheltered housing schemes which has 14 community rooms, including 11 centres and three lounges which vary from 13 to 100 in capacity.

A document drawn up by the council says that its sheltered housing budget could have a net cost of £198,450 for 2011/12.

The council has decided to take ten per cent of the income to put back into sheltered housing.