Allen House Pavilion lease consultation

We are asking for your views on a lease proposal for Allen House Pavilion, which is in Allen House Grounds in Guildford.

Introduction

The Trustees of Allen House Grounds are asking for feedback through a public consultation on a proposal for Allen House Pavilion.

The proposal brings a number of community benefits, which fit in with the terms of the original deed of gift from Jane Allen Broad in 1914. 

Background

We, the Council, are the sole charitable trustee of Allen House Grounds under the provisions of a charitable trust ("the Trust"), registered with the Charity Commission on 31 August 1961.

Jane Allen Broad gifted Allen House Grounds for the use and enjoyment of the inhabitants of Guildford borough under the terms of a deed of gift. The gift restricts the use of Allen House Grounds in the following ways:

(a) the land is to be used as public walks and pleasure grounds;

(b) on no part of the land shall any alcoholic beverage be made, sold or consumed.

We are the registered proprietor of Allen House Grounds but we do not own the land and are not able to manage it or dispose of it in the same way as other Council-owned land and buildings. As the sole trustee, we hold Allen House Grounds in a legal trust for all borough residents. We have to make all decisions in relation to Allen House Grounds in the best interests of the Trust.

On 14 April 2014 the 1914 deed of gift from Jane Allen Broad was varied to allow Allen House Pavilion ("the Pavilion") to be leased to "any local charity for any charitable projects and activities which benefit the inhabitants of the Borough of Guildford".

Pavilion lease

The Pavilion is a former bowls pavilion and is leased to The Matrix Trust. The Matrix Trust ("Matrix") is a registered charity and uses the building as an office and for providing basic youth work activities in support of its work with vulnerable and at risk young people across Guildford Borough. The current lease to Matrix is due to expire on 22 December 2019.

Matrix now wishes to invest in the Pavilion to create a social enterprise community and youth café and hub for providing enhanced youth services. 

The community café will operate Monday to Saturday between 8am and 3.30pm and will create an income stream for Matrix, helping it become more financially sustainable and expand its work with young people. The community café will also provide an opportunity to teach business skills to young people through accredited schemes. 

From 3.30pm to 6pm the Pavilion will close to the general public and be used as a youth café, which Matrix believes will double the impact of its youth services.

On Sundays, the Pavilion will be made available to hire to local groups for events such as children's parties.

Matrix is seeking a new 20-year lease in order to get grant funding to convert part of the Pavilion to a café and carry out other improvements to the Pavilion, including the provision of an outdoor terrace for customer seating.

Matrix has already received planning consent for the part change of use of the Pavilion to a café and for the works that are proposed. The planning application reference is 19/P/00481 and a copy of the application can be viewed on our Comment on a planning application page.

As part of the process of considering the grant of the new lease, we are consulting with the public on behalf of the Trust. Below are the options and recommendations that are being considered by us.

Options

There are two options available:

Option one

Do not grant a new long lease that would enable Matrix to carry out the proposed works and establish a community café.

Option one: advantages and disadvantages

Advantages

Disadvantages

None

  • The use of the Pavilion will not be maximised to its full potential.
  • Offering youth services from the Pavilion may become unsustainable for Matrix, resulting in the loss of a community service.

 

Option two

Grant a new 20 year lease to Matrix allowing the proposed works to take place and the community café to be opened to the public.

Option two: advantages and disadvantages

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Increased use of the Pavilion, including the ability for the public to hire the venue on Sundays.
  • The chance for Matrix to generate an income, make improvements to the Pavilion and be more financially sustainable and able to expand its youth work.

The use of the Pavilion will be fixed for 20 years.

Our preferred option

Our preferred option, in our capacity as sole charitable trustee, is option two: to grant Matrix a new 20-year lease to allow the proposed works to take place and a community café to be set up in the Pavilion. 

Option two allows greater and wider use of the Pavilion. It will allow Matrix to generate an income, which will make it a more financially sustainable charity and support its charitable activities. This is in the best interests of the Trust

Option two also complies with the provisions of the 1914 deed of gift from Jane Allen Broad, requiring that Allen House Grounds be used for "public walks and pleasure grounds" and the 2014 variation, which allowed the Pavilion to be leased to "any local charity for any charitable projects and activities which benefit the inhabitants of the Borough of Guildford".

Your views

We are asking for feedback through a public consultation in relation to the two options. 

The consultation dates and details are outlined below. We will consider comments on the options in our capacity as sole trustee through our Executive Shareholder and Trustee Committee.

Conclusion

As sole charitable trustee, we believe that the grant of a new 20-year lease to Matrix is the best option to be progressed for the benefit of the Trust and the local area.

How to have your say

The consultation will run from 27 November 2019 to 3 January 2020

Please email your comments to: corporateproperty@guildford.gov.uk

or write to:

Allen House Pavilion consultation
FAO Simon Goldsworthy
Property Surveyor
Guildford Borough Council
Millmead House
Guildford
GU2 4BB