Care home firm made offer for hall

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Ripley Town Hall could have become a private care home for the elderly - but a bid to buy the building was turned down by the Amber Valley Borough Council.

Belper-based Milford Care, which has five homes in Amber Valley and Nottinghamshire, made the bid for in 2011, it was revealed this week.

It planned to convert the 1880 town hall and neighbouring Amber Valley headquarters into 40 flats and 70 beds for the elderly - complete with laundry, catering and medical facilities .

Managing director of Milford Gerald Hudson said the offer was made when the premises was being marketed for sale and was ‘in line with the district valuer’s valuation’ - although he would not say exactly how much it was. The offer was rejected at the close of 2012, he said. Speaking shortly after Ripley Town Council’s Tuesday night meeting, he said the facility would have employed 30 people and been a boost for the local economy.

“We were led to believe our offer was in the right ball park,” he said. “Believe you me, it makes no sense.”

He added that he would have not included the town hall’s meeting chamber in the purchase - so it could have carried on being used for town and borough council functions. The news comes after the borough council did a U-turn on its plan to lease the hall to the town council for a 99-year peppercorn rent. The move would have saved it £75,000-a-year in maintenance costs.