Council gives up Delphi Centre lease with user group set to come in

Delphi club users are hoping to save the building from closure ANL-160628-154848009
Delphi club users are hoping to save the building from closure ANL-160628-154848009
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The Delphi Centre in Sudbury is likely to be taken over by a user group after the town council decided against renewing its lease of the popular community centre.

The centre in Newton Road will cease to be managed by the council at the end of next March, and the Delphi User Group will now look to take on the lease and the management, having had initial talks with landowner Delphi Diesel Systems.

The centre is in need of major improvements, with councillors previously expressing concern over the cost of repairs to the roof and updating the interior.

In February the council first announced it would be reviewing its position as leaseholder.

At Tuesday’s full council meeting, members unanimously voted against renewing the lease. Instead they proposed the user group takes over, suggesting it approached the council for financial aid, with council officers offering support to allow for a smooth transfer.

The centre has a large dance hall area, several meeting rooms, a bar and a 1.75-acre sports field.

Raymond Ward, chairman of the user group said: “We believe we can establish the premier events venue in the area.

“The group has established an overarching business plan. We are confident a concerted marketing campaign will see an increase in usage.”

Mr Ward said there had already been social media pages set up which had seen a rise in requests for bookings, with plans also afoot to set up a website.

Town councillor Jan Osborne said the site was a valuable asset for the town but was an expensive asset for the town council, so praised the group for coming forward.

Councillor Simon Barrett said: “I don’t think it’s an asset the town council runs particularly well, but with motivated individuals it could be run well.”

One councillor less convinced was Ellen Murphy, who expressed concerns that the venue was not in the centre of the town and had no public transport links.

She also questioned the giving of grant aid to the user group by the council if the centre was to be used by individuals outside of the town.

Despite these concerns, the proposals for the council to end its management and to support the user group’s bid were given unanimous support.

It will now be for the council’s finance committee to respond to potential funding requests.

Mr Ward said there had also been tentative approaches for other funding but this could not be actively sought until a decision had been made on the centre’s future.