Youth centre buy-out collapses

After months of attempting to raise the money to purchase Horncastle Youth Centre, plans have come to an end and the building is likely to be sold off by Lincolnshire County Council.
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The future of Horncastle Youth Centre was left hanging in the balance after Lincolnshire County Council put the building, in Cagthorpe, up for sale for £300,000 in 2021 after it was closed permanently.

Horncastle Town Council voted to list the youth centre as an asset of community value at an extraordinary meeting on September 30, subject to East Lindsay District Council’s agreement, which will prevent the building being sold on and in the meantime, the Horncastle Youth Centre Working Group (HYCWG) were given six months to raise the money to buy the building.

Lincolnshire County Council also refused to consider a community asset transfer of the building to the Working Group last year, and the working group was unable to apply to the first tranche of the Community Ownership Fund, which opened in July 2021, and the second tranche of the Fund in December 2021, was not opened to new applications, and the group will now have no more opportunities to apply for the £300,000 funding to buy the building before the six months ends in May.

A severe lack of volunteers coming forward to help with the huge amount of work involved in fundraising this amount of money was another factor in the collapse of the plans.

Town councillor Dominic Hinkins was leading the fight to save Horncastle Youth Centre.

He said: “Although we received hundreds of messages of support, we were unable to enlist much practical help. In the absence of a generous donor willing to give us the funds to buy and renovate the Youth Centre, it is the trustees’ intention at present to dissolve our group.

“This means that the Youth Centre will be sold on the open market.

“Personally I find it extremely sad that the Youth Centre, which is a public asset and rightly belongs to the town, is to be sold off – having sat empty and a drain on the public purse for over three years, when there were people who wanted to pay the county council to use it. It is a ridiculous mismanagement of a public asset which, despite reports to the contrary, is in good structural shape.”

Lincolnshire County Council’s Coun Richard Butroid, executive councillor for property at the county council, said: “We have had confirmation from the group that they are no longer pursuing the purchase of the former youth centre building. The council will now be looking at selling the building.”.