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Voluntary groups get ‘cheap rent’ deal to use Tower Hamlets council buildings

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 October 2016 | UPDATED: 17:29 27 October 2016

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs... renting out council premises to voluntary groups

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs... renting out council premises to voluntary groups

Archant

Neighbourhood ‘community hubs’ are being set up in London’s East End to rent out space cheaply to voluntary organisations.

The plan following an audit of Tower Hamlets council properties goes before next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting to set up a centres “within reasonable walking distance” of any neighbourhood.

“There are too many groups forced to operate from sub-standard buildings,” Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs says.

“Many voluntary groups have little income, so we’ve introduced a ‘community benefit’ rent reduction of up to 80 per cent for organisations that provide a benefit to the community.”

Organisations already using council premises are being offered leases to remain where they are to give them more security than existing ad-hoc arrangements.

The move is backed by Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service, whose chief executive Kirsty Cornell said: “The offer to move organisations onto leases gives them greater clarity and security.”

The ‘new deal’ comes after the audit of council buildings found many were being under-used and in poor condition.

But it also revealed many inconsistent agreements on informal basis given to groups by previous administrations over several years including Lutfur Rahman’s term of office.

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