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Rehouse Newcastle voluntary sector groups served notice by East Pilgrim Street developers say Liberal Democrats

July 20, 2017 5:07 PM
Newcastle's Liberal Democrat Opposition has called on Newcastle City Council to take urgent steps to help numerous community initiatives including community health projects, community arts schemes, and mental health self-help groups to find new accommodation after it was announced that groups using Broadacre House on Market Street East have been served notice to quit by the building's landlords.
The building had been empty for several years but has latterly been used by community entrepreneurs on a temporary basis prior to redevelopment of the site as part of the regeneration of East Pilgrim Street. It has developed a inspirational buzz in recent months and years as a hub for community enterprises creative artists, and community initiatives, as well as a venue for meeting and event hire, co-ordinated on a collaborative basis by Northern Creative Solutions.
The landlords of the building have now advised Northern Creative Solutions that they will need to hand the building back by December, and projects using the space will have to leave by Friday November 3rd. There are now fears that important community innovation and social capital could be lost as a result.
Lib Dem spokesman on the "third sector" Cllr Nick Cott is calling for Newcastle council to issue a statement on what it plans to do to ensure that the important work being done by users of the building is not put at risk by lack of accommodation. He has used the council's Voluntary Sector Compact forum to highlight the issue and is calling on the council to consider offering community groups space at the Civic Centre as an alternative.
He said "The landlords of Broadacre House have been helpful with Northern Creative Solutions by allowing use of Broadacre House whilst it was not otherwise occupied. It's proved to be a real catalyst for the city's community sector in the time it's been used. We accept that their lease is now coming to a close and that the owners have interests in the long term redevelopment of the area.
"I recognise that the decision is based on commercial considerations outside of the council's control, but I feel the council could step in to assist the important work being done by its users. There is vacant space at the Civic Centre arising from current redevelopment, including the relocation of the Customer Service Centre from the Civic Centre to the City Library. It would not be impossible for the council to offer use of this space, on a temporary basis if necessary, to Northern Creative Solutions to continue the good work they are doing.
" The Opposition urges the council to investigate how it can help the affected groups and users to find suitable alternative accommodation to allow this work to continue to prosper. It would be ironic if the council were to take a political decision to say no to this proposal on the grounds that commercial income would be needed for use of the vacant Civic Centre space. We would be happy to work with the council administration to help find a new base for this valuable provision."