Winter Gardens listed ahead of 2016 transfer to Weston College?
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 September 2015
AN ATTEMPT is being made to list the Winter Gardens as a community asset ahead of its transfer to Weston College – which will not take place until next year.
North Somerset Council agreed in January to give the seafront venue to the college for £1 so it could be turned into a law and professional services centre by September 2016.
But there was a public furore over the lack of consultation.
Weston Town Councillor Catherine Gibbons hopes to list the Winter Gardens as a community asset under the Localism Act, which would mean extra consultation would be needed before big changes are made.
She said: “I am hoping to get it listed.
“I know the town council is working on getting recreation areas and other things listed as community assets.
“It just gives an additional level of consultation, so any changes will have to be discussed first.
“I think it is just another safeguard – not that I doubt the college would stop the community from using the facilities, but I don’t think there is any harm in reassuring the people of Weston by doing this.
“It is a commitment from the powers that be that it will still be used by the community as it always has been.”
The college has submitted a planning application for change of use and some building works.
Originally, the transfer from the district council to the college was due to take place this month.
But a council spokesman said: “We anticipate the transfer of the Winter Gardens from North Somerset Council to Weston College will take place early next year, subject to legal formalities.
“Until then the Winter Gardens will continue to be operated by Parkwood Leisure, who will deal with all event enquiries until the date of transfer.
“The necessary agreements are now being finalised to facilitate the building transfer so that the refurbishment works can start, subject to planning consent and legal formalities, as soon as the full funding is confirmed by Government with the aim of opening the Law and Professional Services Academy later in 2016.”
The motion to list the venue as an asset of community value will go before the town council on September 14.
Because of the rules of the Localism Act, the motion has to be passed while the building is still in use.
An attempt was made in February to have the Winter Gardens listed as a site of special architectural or historic interest, but this was refused by English Heritage.