Monday, 17 November 2014

The Learning Tree Nursery & The Arundel Youth Club

As residents will be aware I was involved in a meeting of the Arundel Youth Club, West Sussex County Council, The Learning Tree nursery and Arundel Town Council last July to try and broker an agreement to allow parties to co-habitat within the existing building.

There were a number of issues regarding safe-guarding for children and sharing space, it was one of most difficult meetings I have ever attended in either public life or my professional life, but an agreement of sorts was agreed in the last minutes of the meeting

Since then I have withdrawn from the discussions, but I have encouraged the Town Council to negotiate a possible deal to allow the Youth club to vacate the existing premises and receive a substantial settlement.

Michael Tu the The Town Mayor and the Town Council has worked tirelessly to negotiate a final settlement deal where the Youth Club would receive £20,000 to give up the lease and this took into account an outstanding utility bill of £8k and a substantial dilapidation settlement, but also included is outstanding rent from the Nursery which WSCC were holding.

As Arundel Ward member on Arun District Council I have no overall responsibility for Youth services or Nursery education, but as a local Councillor I think I have a legitimate right to give an opinion and criticise when I see an issue that fundamentally affects my constituents, particularly when it affects parents careers and children’s education

I believe the deal that has been negotiated on behalf of the Youth Club is a good deal and gives a route to guarantee youth services within Arundel, also I believe that this deal allows the Learning Tree to continue in the building and expand as there is a waiting list.
Nursery children photo from Guardian.

It has been reported to me that the Youth Club Trustee's have decided to decline the deal that has been negotiated for them and in fact extend the existing lease that ends in March 2015.

I believe this is the wrong decision, I believe for the Trustee's to make this decision defies logic, it puts the Trustee's in to a dubious legal position with a risk of up to £500k personal liability to Trustee's as well as forcing the Learning Tree to find a new premises as they can not continue sharing the facility with the Youth Club.

The resulting chaos will be detrimental to Parents and children at the Learning Tree and also does not serve the Youth club members and I believe this is wrong and all the Trustee's should reconsider their position and reverse this decision.

I would urge them to meet as soon as possible to consider the legal ramifications to their personal circumstances as well as the detrimental effect to Youth Club members and users of the Learning Tree facilities.

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