Youth band lease may be reinstated

First published in Local news

A DECISION to reduce the lease granted to a youth band for its headquarters could be overturned.

Brentwood Council’s overview and scrutiny panel chose to have the decision made last year to reduce a lease offered to the Royal British Legion Youth Band for its premises in The Drive, Warley.

The authority’s policy and resource board slashed the 99-year lease, which had been offered to the group by another council committee (assets and localism), to 30 years, with an annual rent of £2,000.

Now members of the panel, chaired by council leader Louise McKinlay, who originally made the reduction, will look again at its decision with the possibility of it being reversed.

Band director John Wyndham said he was not unhappy with the change made to the lease, but did have an issue with the rent being asked for.

He added: “I just want to say I am very thankful for all the help Brentwood Council gives us.

“When I was first told the lease was being cut from 99 years to 30 years, plus the remaining 19 years we already have, I was not too upset as this was something the council was giving to us and when anyone gives you something you can’t turn around and say you’re not happy.

“My only real problem was with the rent side of the deal. The council said it could give us a grant to help pay it, but if we applied for another grant and it asked us “do you receive other grant money”, it could hinder us.

“We’ve invested £300,000 in this building since we came here eight years ago and what we have now is a great facility run by volunteers. We are the big society in operation.”

A decision will be made about the future of the lease at a meeting in March.

A council spokesman said: “The decision will now be reviewed by the policy committee at its next meeting on March 13 and it will have the power to change the lease back to 99 years if it feels it is the right course of action.”

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