THE GREIG Hall in Alcester is being taken over by Stratford District Council.
The former leisure complex has been the subject of a long running dispute between the council and the Greig Trust. They had become embroiled in legal proceedings after the council announced plans last year to take over the hall, which closed in 2013 after proving ‘financially unviable’.
Residents had raised a petition calling for the trustees to hand over the hall to the council so it could be re-opened for community use.
But the future of the hall has finally been decided following a three-day court hearing in Birmingham.
The district council has been granted an order which will see the site transferred to the council in full settlement of a debt of around £800,000, which was given to the trustees by the council in 2005 to run leisure and recreational facilities.
Under the terms of the court order the hall is set to transfer to the district council on January 31.
The council has already earmarked £500,000 for improvements to the Lifestyle building – located next to the hall and which was home to the leisure facilities.
Council leader Tony Jefferson said: “This has been a concern to the district council for a number of years and we have been working with the Greig Trustees over a number of years to try and find a way to resolve the difficult situation that existed around the Greig Hall and the Lifestyles building. We look forward to working with the trustees to achieve a smooth handover for all users.
“The council is committed to safeguarding the future of the site for the residents of Alcester, the surrounding area and future generations and has funds ring-fenced to invest into the leisure facilities. With ownership of the site coming under the district council’s control we will be able to fulfil one of our corporate priorities which is to refurbish the Lifestyles Sports Hall at the Greig Centre as a priority.”
Ross Greig, chair of the trustees, said there had been no need for the court action.
“We have been providing a service to the district for 14 years almost for free. There was no need for the council’s court action. I wrote several times offering the district a lease to run Lifestyles so it could achieve its corporate strategy, but to no avail. Our proposals for a large investment also did not get the go ahead.
“The trustees have always aimed to keep the site for Alcester and surrounds. We have to comply with our responsibilities under charity law so cannot automatically just do what the district decides.
“At last, users of Lifestyles will be able to get the major investment they have long deserved. We are very pleased that £500,000 has been committed by the district, although not as much as we’d identified.
“We want to do everything needed to get things done quickly to benefit the local community and expect the district has the same view. This is the end of one era for the charity, but hopefully the start of a new optimistic one for the Greig site and Alcester. So much has been promised to the people of Alcester we hope it all gets done”.
The hall, which was built in the late 1950s, was a gift made to the people of Alcester by businessman and philanthropist David Grieg in memory of his late wife Hannah Susan Greig.