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Council sell-off of public buildings in Boston 'moves a step closer'

By Boston Target  |  Posted: June 20, 2012

  • INTEREST SHOWN: The Assembly Rooms could soon have a new lease of life.

  • UNDER OFFER: An as yet unnamed commercial organisation has agreed to takeover the Haven Gallery.

  • INTEREST SHOWN: The Assembly Rooms could soon have a new lease of life.

  • TOO EXPENSIVE: The Haven Gallery has been mothballed since mid-2010 while the Assembly Rooms has been for sale or long-term rent since October.

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TWO of the most prominent public buildings in Boston could soon have new owners.

Boston Borough Council has been trying to off-load the Assembly Rooms in the Market Place and Haven Gallery in South Street for some time in a bid to cut costs.

Now the authority has told the Target that there has been "significant movement" on both fronts.

A spokesman revealed a 'heads of terms' agreement had been struck with a commercial organisation to takeover the Haven which has been mothballed since mid-2010.

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Although the spokesman declined to name the organisation, she said it was "currently in the process of securing the necessary permissions for their intended use."

The 190-year-old Grade Two listed Assembly Rooms has been available for sale or long-term rent since October after the council announced it was faced with an estimated £150,000 bill for external repairs and redecoration along with an "unassessed amount" to improve the interior of the building.

The spokesman said there had been "expressions of interest" in the historic building and the council was "now undergoing a process of due diligence in relation to the interest shown."

If new owners can be found for both buildings it will make a sizeable positive contribution to the council's finances.

Figures released to the Target show running costs – including utilities, business rates, and insurance – for the Haven in 2011/12 were £26,397 while for the Assembly Rooms the total was £21,375.

The spokesman said the council had declared both properties surplus in accordance with its Asset Management Strategy.

She added: "Neither premise makes any significant contribution to the direct delivery of our services and are therefore not economically viable in their current form and tenure."

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