Kingsclere’s Swan Street property to be offered to community
A Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council-owned building in Kingsclere is to be offered to local community groups at a lower than market price, after it was decided to put it up for sale.
At a meeting of the Cabinet last night (Tuesday 7 March), the decision was taken that 24 Swan Street was no longer needed by the council.
A 19th century grade II listed property in Kingsclere in a conservation area, the building has office accommodation and is home to the JLD School of Dance, Eira’s Equestrian Extras and Kingsclere Gardening Association.
Now the local community will be given the first opportunity to make an offer to purchase the long lease on the building in the next six months at a lower price.
Following the Cabinet decision, an appropriate discount will be offered that recognises the social and economic benefits for the local community and businesses, balancing this against the council’s duty to get good value for the sale of a public asset.
This follows the property being registered as an Asset of Community Value in 2021, after an application by Kingsclere Parish Council and the Kingsclere Performing Arts and Youth Centre.
If successful in raising the money, community interest group Kingsclere Performing Arts and Youth Centre proposes to use the building to provide community services including a youth club, café, homework club and food bank.
Cabinet Member for Finance and Property Cllr John Izett said: “Through my visits to Kingsclere and meetings with residents, I recognise how strong the local attachment is to this building in the heart of the village and the enthusiasm to bring in new community uses that will make it an even more useful local facility.
“Therefore, I support offering it to the community groups first at a lower price to give them a chance to take over the building for the long term future benefit of Kingsclere.”
The property’s sale on a 999-year lease would enable the council to reinvest the money to help support council services, while providing an opportunity to a local group to use it to benefit the local community.
The building was used as municipal offices from 1875, first by Kingsclere Rural District Council and then by Kingsclere and Whitchurch Rural District Council from the 1960s. From the mid-1970s it was used as a register office until the late 1990s.