Almonry Project Update
Battle Town Council
As has been published recently, one of Battle’s oldest heritage buildings, The Almonry, is in desperate need of repair. Battle Town Council presented a vision for The Almonry, setting out four different options for the future of this wonderful building. Further details of this vision had been identified in the draft Strategic Plan, which can be found on the Battle Town Council website. The Almonry public consultation, conducted in the form of a questionnaire and posted to all residents, closed on the 19th June. Data were analysed, considered and presented in June. A small number of residents took part in the consultation, and Council would like to thank all individuals who took the time to respond and have their say on the future of The Almonry.
It was clear from the results that public opinion was largely against the sale of The Almonry, with the majority of responses in favour of keeping the building in public ownership. However, responses to Options 1 and 2 which offered varying levels of development of the building, did not offer a decisive result.
Taking into consideration the post COVID-19 economic climate, which will inevitably affect the availability of grant funding and income from Community Infrastructure Levy payments it was felt inappropriate to continue with the full project to include the rebuild of the south wing.
Following lengthy discussions by the Almonry Development Working Group (ADWG), Finance & General Purposes Committee and finally Full Council, the, slightly amended, recommendations for works that ensures the building is made safe and accessible for all an to support the town’s post - COVID-19 recovery through tourism were agreed:
- to undertake selected agreed repairs, maintenance and improvement of services to be initiated as soon as possible, for the efficient and safe working in a heritage building in order to fulfill statutory and moral obligations to include making the ground floor accessible for those with disabilities;
- A low cost conversion of floor space to include a Tourist Information Point;
- To put in hand an application for a loan of up to £600,000 from the Public Works Loan Board, previously agreed and budgeted for, on the understanding that only the amount needed to undertake the works as above is drawn down.
Council is excited to move on to the next stage of the project. Whilst the detail is still to be agreed and a start date for any works remains undecided, it is fantastic news that the project is getting underway and that the future of this incredible asset to the town is a bright one.
- 01424 772210
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The Almonry, High Street, Battle, East Sussex, TN33 0EA