A LONG-running dispute over Alcester’s Greig Centre has culminated in Stratford District Council serving notice on the trustees to recover £800,000.
The cash was given to the Greig Trust charity 13 years ago to provide leisure and recreational facilities but concerns have mounted in recent years over ‘deteriorating’ facilities at the Greig Lifestyles leisure centre.
And residents also launched a petition for the trustees to hand over the adjoining Grieg Hall, which closed in 2013, in the hope it could be re-opened for community use.
Notice to reclaim the money comes just months after the council terminated its agreement with the trustees saying it had tried and failed to ‘work with and assist’ the Greig Trust.
Council chiefs then voted to take control of both sites, saying the financial position of the Greig Centre was ‘precarious’ and losses were being reported.
The council also stated it would safeguard the future of the centre and invest.
Council property spokeswoman Coun Lynda Organ said: “Stratford District Council is committed to the long term provision of leisure facilities in Alcester and has earmarked £500,000 for improvements to the Lifestyles building.
“The council has worked with the trust since 2014 endeavouring to achieve a managed transfer of the facility, with the council providing significant financial support during this period. This course of action has not been successful.”
But the trustees say they carried out the role as agreed with the council and were now seeking advice from the Charity Commission, which regulates registered charities like the Greig Trust.
Chairman Ross Greig said: “There is no need for the charity to pay back any grant money to the council. They’ve told everyone we are doing the job just as they agreed.
“We agreed with the council how its grant should be used towards upgrading and expanding our Lifestyles sports and leisure centre. This has been a great success and much appreciated by the local community benefiting the health and wellbeing of people of all ages.
“We have lots of good ideas to assist local people. The council would use taxpayers money but ours wouldn’t need to cost the taxpayer anything. We have tried to talk with the council, but they won’t meet us.”
The centre was a gift made to the people of Alcester by businessman and philanthropist David Grieg in memory of his late wife Hannah Susan Greig.