A house of confusion
PUBLISHED: 16:03 22 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:53 28 May 2010
WE find the whole matter of Grove House highly perplexing. As we understand the situation, Grove House was owned by Chatteris Urban District Council, who transferred its care to the newly formed Fenland District Council in 1974. Chatteris Town Council me
WE find the whole matter of Grove House highly perplexing.
As we understand the situation, Grove House was owned by Chatteris Urban District Council, who transferred its care to the newly formed Fenland District Council in 1974.
Chatteris Town Council met in the building until the mid 1990s and the museum was housed there.
We understand that in the mid 1990s Chatteris Town Council asked Fenland District Council for the building back, but FDC insisted they would have to pay £250,000 for it (!) so nothing happened.
Then, in 1996, Fenland District Council sold the building to the Isle College for £6,000, under conditional terms and it being used for education for 10 years.
According to a recent article by Cllr Alan Melton, the building was in a poor state and the Isle College undertook a "massive refurbishment" of the building and educational use started in 1997.
First, there are two questions.
(1) Why did Fenland District Council let the building get into such a poor state of repair?
(2) Why were Chatteris Town Council asked for such a huge amount of money shortly before the sale to Isle College?
Now we move on to the present time, and we are told by Cllr Melton that the building is in a very poor state now and that it cannot be used as a public building "as there is no lift and is not 'disabled and disability acceptable'".
This raises further issues.
(1) Why is it again in such a poor state if the Isle College had it "massively refurbished"?
(2) Why should it have to have a lift? We have never noticed one in Fenland Hall, or the One Stop Shops.
(3) How about using just part of it as a public building?
(4) How about using the small side building for something like the Youth Cafe that everyone seems to agree Chatteris could do with?
A motion for the reacquisition of Grove House for the benefit of the people of Chatteris has now twice been put before the Chatteris Town Council, but the majority group will not even discuss the matter.
Surely the council has a duty to the people of Chatteris to fully investigate the condition of the building, and all its possible uses rather than ignore the matter.
And surely the Chatteris community is entitled to some substantial recompense from Fenland District Council for what looks very much like mismanagement of a substantial Chatteris asset.
CLLR CHRISTINE COLBERT & CLLR CHRIS HOWES