Youth club hoping for new lease deal

Awsworth youth club Chairman Tim Madden.
Awsworth youth club Chairman Tim Madden.

BOSSES at Awsworth Youth Club are hoping to get a new lease and re-open now a new parish council has been elected in the village.

The youth club was forced to close down in 2008 after a legal battle over its lease with land owners Awsworth Parish Council which club members say left them penniless.

The fight was never officially won by either party and both sides have been locked in negotiations over agreeing a new lease for nearly three years.

Both parties are claiming the other side want alterations to the lease that they cannot accept which has led to the current stalemate.

The youth club committee say the council wants too much power over issues such as maintenance, and they are now hoping for a more ‘reasonable’ contract from the newly elected councillors.

The legal wrangling has allegedly cost the parish council thousands on solicitor’s fees while the youth club spent its last £8,000 which Mr Madden says would have been invested in the youth of the village.

“We’ve sold all of our equipment and everything to pay the solicitors,” he said. “We’ve now got an empty building.

“After 30 years of working for the youth, we have lost everything.”

Until recently, the committee was trying to get the council to pay the £8,000 back.

“I’ve given up fighting for the fees,” Mr Madden said. “The taxpayer has shelled out enough. If I could get the councillors to pay it personally though I would.”

Cllr Dawn Savage was chairman of the parish council last year.

She said: “As far as I was concerned we were still in negotiations with Tim to come to a mutual agreement, and I thought we were moving forward with it all.

“They wanted to make alterations to the lease we couldn’t accept but I thought myself and Tim were making headway so I’m disappointed it has come to this.”

But newly elected councillor Kurt Whitten from local group Awsworth First which won seven seats in May’s elections, said he wanted the lease sorted out.

“I can’t say anything because the youth club has not even been discussed yet,” he added.

“We only had our first meeting Monday night and we just discussed formalities but we have a meeting in June and I’m sure it will be discussed then.”

The committee, made up of volunteers, spent £54,000 to build the youth centre next to the village hall in 1999.

But they say this fight has left them needing to fundraise to get the club back up and running if they can strike a new deal with the parish council.