Hall’s future hangs in balance

The future of Ripley Town Hall hangs in the balance yet again.

Last year Amber Valley Borough Council turned down an offer of £250,000 from the town council to buy the town hall back.

Last week the borough did a ‘u-turn’ and decided not to lease the building to the town council.

I think that Ripley people will be shocked by the borough’s decision and the town council will be discussing this sorry state of affairs on April 16 in the town hall at 7pm.

Of course, when the town council’s Council Tax for 2013 – 2014 was set, we budgeted an extra £100,000 - a 44 per cent increase - to fund the running and maintenance costs of the town hall.

This was done in ‘good faith’ because we thought we would be leasing the town hall from the borough.

However, I expect the town council will not spend that money, and that we will reduce the ‘precept’ next year.

I remain hopeful that the town council will still be able to agree a separate lease with the borough so we can re-open the Market Place toilets.

We’re disappointed they are not already re-opened, and are trying to finalise arrangements with the borough.

Other news is that, following an initiative by the town council, the Ripley Heritage Action Group has been formally established and I’m sure the benefits to our community will be all good.

Also, the town council is trying to establish a Ripley Youth Council.

We shall be talking with young people from local schools, youth clubs, the Scouts and the Guides, to see how this might be done because we want young people fully involved in local decision making.

If you want any information, or have feedback, please get in touch:.

You can email me at steve.freeborn@hewittfreeborn.com or leave a message on 01773 749000.