Monday, 16 December 2019

Volunteer centre bids £130,000 for old police station

THE Fish volunteer centre in Sonning Common has bid £130,000 for the former village police station.

It is in negotiations with development company EXP Property Investments, which owns the semi-detached property in Lea Road.  The former police house is next door and there are also two garages.

Clive Mills, the charity’s former chairman, told a meeting of Sonning Common Parish Council on Monday that if the bid for the freehold was successful the charity could probably move into the building in the second half of next year.

The charity is currently based in Kennylands Road and has 15 months left on its lease with the building’s owner, Dr Peter Hemphill, a former village GP.

Mr Mills said: “Fish is in its 41st year and the trustees feel it’s now time we had a permanent home, which would give us confidence to plan for the future.

“We believe the police station is an opportunity too good to miss at this moment in time.  There are very few suitable properties in the village whereas the police station is in an admirable position. We would have two rooms, an office and a community room, which many organisations in the village could use for the good of the community.”

Fish treasurer Linda Collison said the charity could only afford just over half the purchase price and the rest would need to come from the council, which would then share ownership of the property.

The council agreed that its finance committee should discuss the request.

Fish has been in Kennylands Road for five years after moving from the village hall. It made a bid for the former police station in March, when the building originally came up for sale, but lost out to the developer.

At the time, Mr Mills said Fish would consider a move back to the village hall, which was supported by the council, but the idea was then dropped.

Fish, which was founded in 1979, provides transport for people in Sonning Common, Kidmore End and Peppard and also runs a befriending service.

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