Church groups have an­other six months to use the cen­tre

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­

COM­MU­NITY groups who will lose their base when it is sold have se­cured a six-month re­prieve.

They now have un­til June, in­stead of the end of this month, to use Ash­ford’s Cen­tre­piece Church and hall now that it is on the mar­ket.

The ex­tra time has come through the wait for a deal with a new buyer to be fi­nalised and months of pa­per­work.

Church min­is­ter the Rev David Clark said: “Ac­cord­ing to Char­ity Com­mis­sion rules we have to sell to the high­est bid­der and at the mo­ment there are two in­ter­ested par­ties.

“We have writ­ten to lo­cal groups to tell them they can con­tinue us­ing the cen­tre un­til the end of June. This is be­cause once a bid is ac­cepted it will take at least three months to do all the pa­per­work.”

Mr Clark said it was un­known when a bid would be ac­cepted and did not want to re­veal who the present prospec­tive buy­ers were.

In Au­gust it was re­vealed 20 lo­cal groups, such as Ash­ford Ac­tive Re­tire­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, would have to find new premises af­ter the Bank Street cen­tre was put up for sale.

They had been guar­an­teed book­ings un­til the end of 2009.

The Rev David Clark out­side The Cen­tre­piece Church

Mr Clark ex­plained that church man­age­ment needed more mod­ern premises to fit in with the Dis­abil­ity Dis­crim­i­na­tion Act.

He said the present 15-room 19th cen­tury build­ing was too big and dif­fi­cult to adapt and new premises were needed with enough park­ing.

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