HOLBEACH PARISH COUNCIL: Library move now possible after vote
The possibility of Holbeach Parish Council moving its headquarters in the town is now on after a vote to work on costings for such a plan.
During their meeting on Monday, members voted in favour of a proposal to consider buying the former Holbeach Library building in Church Street, with the possible sale of the current parish council offices in West End as part of it.
Any sale of the council’s offices at Coubro Chambers in West End, Holbeach, could also see the town’s Band Hall in Back Lane put on the market, with band members themselves offered “first refusal”.
In a report to members, Coun Isobel Hutchinson said: “There has been much debate over the future of the Band Hall over the past few years and, at present, the band has a two-year lease which ends in March 2018.
“Having spoken to two members of the band recently, they have not been successful in finding suitable premises at a price they can afford.”
The old library building is still in the hands of Lincolnshire County Council which also has the option of making it the new home of Holbeach Children’s Centre, currently based at Holbeach Primary Academy.
Coun Nick Worth, Holbeach county councillor, said: “If the parish council is interested in buying the building, it has to notify the county council which then has to contact all of its departments, and the rest of the public sector, to see if anybody else is interested.”
Holbeach Band Hall was valued at £29,500 in 2014, according to a report by Coun Isobel Hutchinson exploring the options of either keeping or selling it and Coubro Chambers.
Mel Hopkin, Musical Director of Holbeach Town Band, said: “It is nice to hear that the parish council has now made a commitment in offering to sell the Band Hall to the band (on a first refusal basis).
“This would give us the security we need for the future of the band, depending, of course, on the price.
“The Band has a limited capital fund for the purchase of instruments, equipment and premises for its 60 members, nearly half of them still at school.”
• Holbeach Parish Council has ended an interest in running the town’s weekly markets after learning that traders want to stay where they are.
Controversy over the markets moving from High Street to Boston Road South car park led parish councillors to look into the cost of running it themselves.
But Coun Isobel Hutchinson said: “All the market traders wish to stay on Boston Road South car park and, if we were to move the markets back to High Street, we would struggle to take them with us.”
Former parish council chairman Coun Terry Harrington said: “We haven’t got the staff and I feel it’s not viable.”
• Parish councillors have apologised after “missing out” on income from a telephone mast in Carter’s Park.
A question about rent paid by Telefonica UK for the mast, installed in 2009, led to the revelation that Holbeach United Football Club had offered some of the income to the parish council.
Coun Isobel Hutchinson said: “The football club requested permission from the council in 2009 for the phone mast and the club stated that income would be between £3,000 and £6,000 pounds per year.
“The council was offered ten per cent of the income, or £500, whichever was the greater up to a maximum of £500.
“But it declined the offer and, over the last eight years, we have missed out on between £2,400 and £4,000.”
• The chance of Holbeach attracting inward investment as a Heritage Action Zone town has improved after an application passed its first stage.
Members of the Holbeach Town Action Group held talks with Heritage England recently about regenerating the town by gaining Heritage Action Zone status, similar to that held by King’s Lynn.
An update is expected by the end of the year.