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‘Friends’ complete purchase of Old Prison
Residents in Northleach and further afield were celebrating on Thursday 18 July after completing the purchase of the town’s historic Old Prison building from Cotswold District Council.
CDC announced in 2011 that it intended to sell the building because the costs were becoming onerous for taxpayers across the district. However, when the selling process got underway, the council became aware of a vigorous public campaign - on the part of Northleach residents and many others – to have a say in the future of the Old Prison. As a result, the Council concluded in February 2012 that the final decision on the sale would not just take account of the price offered, but would also give due weight to local social, economic and environmental concerns.
Subsequently, the ‘Friends of the Cotswolds’ submitted a strong bid for the building, envisaging a significant boost to the site’s viability through the restoration of the resident Lloyd Baker Collection of artefacts, and the retention of the Cotswolds Conservation Board as the main tenant. This bid was so impressive that the council named the ‘Friends’ as preferred bidders in June 2012.
Commenting on the sale of the building today, Cllr Barry Dare, who was the CDC Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources during the bid process, said:
“I am delighted that both parties have been able to complete the complex legal work to enable the ‘Friends’ to purchase the Old Prison. During the bid process, they demonstrated that – working alongside the Cotswold Conservation Board – they can develop both a viable volunteer-led cultural attraction as well as a strategic tourism resource. The process has been long and complex as the Council needed to ensure that the new owner of the prison could meet all their obligations in respect of public access to the building and the Lloyd Baker Collection and other museum exhibits.”
Leader of CDC, Cllr Lynden Stowe, added:
“This is democracy in action - the local people spoke out when they did not agree with the original plans to sell the site, and we listened to their concerns and changed course. The result is a real win-win on many fronts because taxpayers in the district do not have to subsidise this building any longer, the local voluntary sector and community can now play a much bigger role in marketing and exhibiting the renowned Lloyd Baker collection, and the Conservation Board will remain on site.”
: 18/07/2013 21:54:46
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