Stroud District Council has promised to increase its efforts to find new permanent homes fit for social enterprises, which must make way for a new development at a former industrial site.
Temporary stays for RUSH Skatepark, Grace Network and other Brimscombe Port tenants will finish at the end of June, because the site will be needed for a new development.
However on Thursday June 10, members of the council’s Strategy and Resources Committee voted to increase the council’s support to find permanent homes for RUSH Skatepark and Grace Network.
“We have listened to the views of many people and we have always recognised the strength of feeling there is for RUSH and Grace Network, and we know about the huge benefits which both bring to the community. We won’t give up on helping to find new permanent homes for them,” said Council Leader Doina Cornell.
“The old factory buildings are well past their best and delaying vacation of the properties any further could put £2.776 million of external funding at risk for redeveloping the site.
“Stroud District Council has invested £1.1 million in the site as well, to help prepare it for redevelopment. We will step up our efforts to help find premises fit for RUSH’s and Grace Network’s needs, and reiterate their calls for new homes.”
The council has supported both tenants to extend their stays and is expected to write off rent arrears for RUSH, and Inside Football (which has closed already).
In 2018 the Strategy and Resources Committee agreed to grant a ground lease of land at Stratford Park to RUSH, subject to detailed terms and planning permission being secured and RUSH funding build costs. Unfortunately RUSH was unable to progress the plans at that time, though the offer of the site remains open to them.
“RUSH is continuing to seek alternative premises, and regardless of the redevelopment plans, RUSH needs a new, well maintained building with a secure future,” said Deputy Council Leader Catherine Braun. “We will work with Active Gloucestershire to provide them with additional support to help them find the premises they need.”
The council has offered some of its own premises for some parts of the Grace Network operation – it runs Stroud Furniture Bank, The Long Table, Stroud District Kids’ Stuff, Kick Off Stroud, The Bike Drop, Gloucestershire House Clearances and facilitates Stroud Foodbank.
In the run-up to Christmas, the Council made the kitchen at the council-owned pub The Ship Inn in Brimscombe available to The Long Table so it could make 3,000 meals for those in need, and innovative temporary solutions like this could be offered, alongside additional support to help Grace Network in its search for new permanent premises.
Thrupp Ward Councillor, Beki Aldam said: “There’s no doubt that both Grace Network and Rush, as well as the other tenants on site, have made enormous contributions to our community. As their local councillor I’m committed to working with them so they can carry on their great work.”
The report which the committee considered can be viewed here: https://www.stroud.gov.uk/media/1485864/item-9-tenancies-at-brimscombe-port-rush-skatepark-and-grace-network.pdf
A recording of the meeting can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw01Yx9VOc8
More details of ther Brimscombe Port development can be seen here: https://www.stroud.gov.uk/environment/brimscombe-port/brimscombe-port-popular-brief-a-summary-of-the-proposal-for-brimscombe-port