The Executive Director of Neighbourhoods and Communities submitted a report which gave information on a proposal to provide an "option" for the possible leasing of the Old Town Hall in St. Hilda's to Tees Valley Community Foundation, for its restoration, refurbishment and future use.
The Council has been approached by the Tees Valley Community Foundation (TVCF) with a proposal to restore the building as an investment project on behalf of the Foundation. Currently TCVF have considerable resources under management, and would now like to invest in local initiatives and get a broader social return, as well as a return on their investment.
It is proposed that TVCF could invest a considerable amount to a regeneration project, where the finished scheme could bring a return. It is anticipated that TVCF could use their own resources to bring in other match funding from other sources. The initial proposal is that the building will be used for office use and workspace. TVCF would manage the building, and depending on the type and amount of grant support the proposal may attract, the finished building could offer office and/or start up incubator space. TVCF would expect that such a programme would create, and protect, a number of job opportunities depending on the scale of the completed building.
TVCF would require the Council to provide a one year lock out arrangement with TCVF for the building, which will allow the security of exclusive rights to progress their proposal, with a repair and maintenance leasehold arrangement proposed, on a "peppercorn" rental basis over a period of a minimum of 25 years, this period being a minimum requirement of both the proposed funders.
TVCF's proposal is at a very early stage, with projected timescales of discussion with other interested agencies and the development of the proposal spread through 2014/15.
The building is presently a major liability to the Council and its capital programme, especially due to its historic and listed status, with no other real options or commercial interest for its future use and maintenance. The costs of renovation and re-use are anticipated to be in excess of £1m.
that a one year lock out arrangement to the Tees Valley Community Foundation for the building, which will allow exclusive rights to progress their proposal. This will be renewable for a further year if it is demonstrated that progress is being made in developing the scheme; and,
that, subject to a satisfactory scheme being developed, the Council will lease the building for 25 years at a peppercorn rent on a full repairing and insurance (FRI) basis", this period being a minimum requirement of the proposed funders.
The decision was supported by the following reasons:
success of this proposal would see the resultant restoration of a building of major importance in Middlesbrough's history and heritage, subsequently improving the image and future potential of the Middlehaven Regeneration site;
refurbishment of this Grade 2 listed building would remove the future liability and resultant major financial implications to the Council and its capital programme, and provide additional income from the future business rates from TVCF;
success of this proposal would see TVCF as the Accountable Body with HLF, therefore no financial liability to the Council. A contract would be between HLF and TVCF, therefore repayment of the grant would not default to the Council.