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Otley MP claims plans for civic centre are 'in tatters'
Leeds City Council has insisted that talks with a potential new tenant for Otley Civic Centre are continuing.
The Labour-controlled Otley Town Council recently stated that negotiations between a prospective tenant and the city council, which owns the building, were at an advanced stage.
But this week MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) said he had discovered that the public sector organisation in question had decided to abandon the move, leaving, in his view, the civic centre’s refurbishment plans “in tatters”.
A spokeswoman for the local authority, however, said yesterday that negotiations were not only ongoing but very much on track.
She said: “Negotiations with a prospective tenant for Otley Civic Centre are ongoing.
“We’re hopeful these discussions can be concluded successfully and we remain committed to this process.”
Town council leader Councillor John Eveleigh (Lab, Ashfield) echoed those views.
He said: “I’ve contacted the officer in Leeds who is responsible and he has contacted the third party, who have stated that nothing regarding the civic centre has changed.
“They remain interested in taking up a tenancy subject to the terms being right for themselves.”
In his letter, Mr Mulholland said: “Labour town councillors have said they are ‘currently nearing the end of negotiations’.
“Negotiations are not nearing an end at all. I know exactly at what stage discussions are, having had a very helpful meeting with Leeds.
“There has, so far, been only one potential user identified and other than that, there is not yet a workable plan involving other users and commercial usage.
“Now it has also emerged the one user that has so far expressed an interest no longer wants to pursue that interest. To suggest they are somewhere close to signing a deal is disgraceful.”
A Grade II-listed building, the centre, which was home to the town council, Otley Museum and many community groups, closed in May 2010 in anticipation of a much-delayed refurbishment that has yet to happen.