Church to lease former youth centre

A run-down Wolverhampton youth centre building is set to be refurbished and let to a local community church on a minimal 99-year ‘peppercorn’ rent.

The former Compton Youth Centre in Henwood Road, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google
The former Compton Youth Centre in Henwood Road, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google

The former Compton Youth Centre in Henwood Road, within the Tettenhall Wightwick ward, has been empty September 2019 and is in a significant state of disrepair.

Refurbishment costs are estimated to be in excess of £200,000.

Wolverhampton Council has been approached by Windmill Community Church (WCC) which has expressed an interest in the property.

Councillor Jacqueline Sweetman, the council’s cabinet member for city assets and housing, said: “We are very happy to explore ways in which surplus council-owned buildings can be used by the local community.

“Windmill Community Trust has a proven record of breathing new life into buildings through their work at St Thomas’s Church in Finchfield.

“They have worked closely with the people living nearby in Compton to find out the kind of activities and events they would like to see at the venue.

“We look forward to seeing what they make of the former youth centre – and the positive difference I am confident it will make to the local community.”

In a report to the council’s cabinet resources panel, the council’s strategic asset manager Luke Dove added: “WCC are a locally based registered charity that currently operate from St Thomas’s Church, Finchfield.

“Having taken on this property in a derelict condition, they have completely transformed it into a vibrant community hub and place of worship, raising £235,000 from its members and grant trusts for its refurbishment. This has now been successfully operating for the last two years.

“WCC are part of the citywide social prescribing network co-ordinated by Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council (WVSC) and have recently put forward an application for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

“They currently have over 50 active volunteers who ensure the organisation operates effectively, supported by staff from the Missionary Society.”

Subject to council approval, WCC intend to upgrade the building both internally and externally along with improving on-site parking.

“They have engaged professional consultants and submitted a planning application which far exceeds just bringing the building back into a compliant condition,” said Mr Dove.

Similar to the WCC facility at Finchfield, the former Compton Youth Centre will be available to local residents and will include a community coffee hub, craft group, community choir, fitness group, youth group, parenting courses, life groups and Sunday worship.

Compton residents have also suggested additional activities such as flower arranging, junior football linked to Wolves FC, a history group and rambling and nature groups.

The report added: “Many residents simply also require a place in Compton to attend due to being lonely as no other facility currently exists. This development would provide an excellent opportunity to support the wellbeing of the city’s residents.”

Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet resources panel will discuss the proposal on Wednesday.

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