Council to Investigate Future Use of West Street Store

At the Recreation & Amenities meeting last night Councillors agreed investigating further the refurbishment of Town Council’s West Street store into either a workshop/studio space,  residential long let or offices.

The listed building has been used for storage – either rented out to local residents, or as present, used for storage of council equipment.  A quinquennial survey carried out in 2019 for the Council indicated that work was required to ensure that the building did not deteriorate structurally. A further condition survey was carried out by a practice specialising in conservation surveying in March 2022. This has indicated that the building needs initial intervention within the next 12 months and more substantial intervention within the next 5 years. If a listed building goes into disrepair then local and central government may force repairs to be carried out by using an urgent works notice not in use, or to a part not in use, where the works are urgently necessary for its preservation. If the works are not carried out by the owner, the authority has the power to enter the property, carry out the works and seek to recover the costs from the owner.

Work to progress within the next 12 months would involve clearance, refurbishment and redecoration of the gutters and rainwater goods, repair and replacement of internal roof timbers, renewal of glazing putty, connection of the main downpipe to the subterranean drainage system and monitoring of structural movement of the walls. At a minimum, some roof tiles should be replaced, though due to scaffolding costs it may be more financially prudent to replace the whole roof at one time. Further works have been identified as being required within a 3-5 year time frame. These include repair of the timber frame, removal of the modern masonry paint, and redecoration
and repair of the doors. The initial cost indication for works required in the next five years totals £84,000.

As the building needs major refurbishment with a substantial cost, it was logical to look at possible other uses which would generate income and offset the cost of the works.

The Councillors were presented with a report including costings for eight options that included conversion to a meeting room/community space although this was discounted as other Town Council rooms are not fully utilised currently.

Councillors agreed to that £661 and Planning Officer, Jodie Rhymes time should be allocated to get pre-planning advice on the options from South Oxfordshire District Council.  Following this, a schedule of works would be drawn up for the options set out. Quotations for the works would be then be sought and a report on the quotations received brought back to Recreation & Amenities Committee for consideration.

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