Buildings are granted protected status by council
PUBLISHED: 08:14 25 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:14 25 October 2019
Two buildings in Saffron Walden have been confirmed as assets of community value by Uttlesford District Council (UDC).
The Adult Community Learning (ACL) and Essex Cares Ltd (ECL) buildings off Fairycroft Road belong to Essex County Council but Saffron Walden Town Council made a request to have the buildings declared assets of community value in order to protect them from sale.
The application was agreed last month by UDC, meaning community groups would be offered the chance to buy them first in the event that they were put on the market.
The new status as assets will be in place for five years. Following this period of time, a new application will have to be submitted for the status to be granted again.
Tim Atkinson, owner of Fairycroft House, which adjoins the two buildings, said currently, there were "quite a few rooms that are unused" in the ACL building, previously used for education courses and youth groups.
He said: "We want to be involved with the running of the ACL building. It's a series of rooms. I just registered my interest with the town council. We have invested a lot of money into arts in this area. It's a creative part of the town.
"We work to take on and further expand our activities at Fairycroft House and provide even more arts for the community."
Mr Atkinson said that, although no one was suggesting it was going to be sold imminently, the ACL building was not often used, and using it for arts purposes under the Fairycroft House banner would be "the healthy thing to do" since the buildings are adjacent.
Mr Atkinson told the town council at the assets and services committee meeting on June 24 that he wanted to see the building put to greater use.
Speaking at the time, he said: "From the point of view of our company, we would love to reunite the whole site, because obviously [the building] did belong to Fairycroft House many moons ago and could have all sorts of things running there because we're finding, although we've been successful, everyone wants 5-8pm on a weeknight, or a Saturday, and there is only so many things [that can be accommodated].