Legal action over Glastonbury sports centre

Chess pieces
Image caption Groups that use the centre include the Glastonbury and Street Chess Club

Legal action is to be taken against the leaseholder of a leisure centre in Glastonbury, a council has announced.

Mendip District Council said its tenant at the Tor Sport and Leisure Centre had failed to comply with the lease, allowing it to deteriorate.

The council said problems included extensive decay and rot.

But tenant Rik Cook said he had not received consent from the authority for renovation and extension work, despite gaining planning permission.

The council said there were about 50 problems, including the roof needing urgent repairs.

A council spokesman said the repairs would cost over £200,000.

Groups that use the centre include the Glastonbury and Street Chess Club.

'Deteriorating' condition

Councillor Tom Killen said: "We are responding to concerns from local residents and our officers and consultants that the property has been deteriorating for some time.

"We have been trying to negotiate with the tenant to find a way forward, but we've come to a bit of a stalemate so we've been forced to take action and we regret that very much."

He said Mr Cook had gained planning permission to refurbish the centre in 2007, which expires in December this year.

"They require landlord's consent to proceed with that and that hasn't been obtained yet and there are various conditions applying to that planning permission which need to be satisfied before they can start works.

"We have been concerned that there isn't really the intent to undertake the repairs and these improvement works."

Mr Cook took over the lease on the 17-acre site in 1998. He said there were three years left.

He said he had taken it on in a "dilapidated state". It was previously the social club for Morlands.

He added: "Having said that, the structure is perfectly sound; the timbers are sound, the foundations are sound.

"We've had everything checked, we've had our own surveys done and we'll be taking those to court quite gladly."

He said he had been seeking consent from the council ever since the planning application was approved.

He claimed there had been no negotiation.

A council spokesman said the case was expected to be heard at Yeovil County Court in due course.

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