Town building rent plan dropped....for now

PUBLISHED: 10:01 17 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:34 25 May 2010

TAXPAYERS in Weston have escaped paying an annual £15,000 bill for a town council building - but only for the time being.

TAXPAYERS in Weston have escaped paying an annual £15,000 bill for a town council building - but only for the time being.

North Somerset Council has temporarily withdrawn a demand for Weston Town Council to start paying rent for its Grove House base, the Mercury understands.

However, the unitary authority's executive member for environment and asset management, Carl Francis-Pester, left the door open for a rise in future.

He said: "Weston Town Council has already planned its budget for the next year, so it cannot be factored into that, but the question then arises of what we do in the future.

"We want to come to a settlement that's acceptable to both sides, something that gives a bit more certainty for the longer term and we need to scale whatever charges to apply to the council's ability to pay."

If the unitary authority decides to charge the town rent, the bill will be footed by Weston taxpayers alone, with the cash going to district coffers.

Weston Town Council leader Andrew Horler had described the plans to increase the fee as disappointing.

He added: "Negotiations over the lease of Grove House are taking place between the town clerk and officers of North Somerset Council, until they have been concluded I will not be able to comment on any change in the terms, length and conditions."

Ownership of Grove House was retained by the district council after Weston Borough Council was disbanded.

It was given to the town in 1952 following the death of Cecil Smyth-Pigott, a descendent of the lords of the manor.

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