St Martha Parish Council, supported by CHilworth2gether and Chilworth Gunpowder Group, submitted a proposal to take over the management of West Lodge, in a bid to stop the building being sold off for development.
The plan is to restore the building and breathe new life in it, creating the opportunity for a new meeting room for the community, an educational base for visiting students, a base for volunteers, and a focal point for St Martha Parish Council business.
A strong contingent of GBC officials and elected Councillors, together with officers representing Parks and leisure and the Asset Department, met the West Lodge Steering Group to discuss the proposal.
The Parish Council stressed that the purpose of the exercise was not to raise a commercial rent from the property, but to work in partnership with GBC to assist them to use West Lodge to fulfil various of the Council’s objectives, including providing more educational opportunities; and to help progress the Management Plan for the Gunpowder Mills site. It would be a partnership.
After responding to questions, both elected Borough Councillors, Councillor Richard Billington and Councillor David Wright, spoke in support of the initiative.
Officers have agreed to go away and look in detail at the proposal and devise a way forward.