PLANS to turn a Mossley playing fields’ former changing rooms into a community café are a step closer.
The building at Egmont Street will also have community rooms and a hub for local park users, visitors and the sports teams who use the park.
And after Tameside Council agreed a lease with Works4U, which its founder Norman Mackie said would be for 25 years for a peppercorn rent so it can invest a ‘very considerable amount of money’ work can now start, with a summer date hoped for.
It will also breathe new life into facilities there, according to Mossley councillors.
Cllr Stephen Homer is a driving force behind the scheme, based on the idea Mossley Town Council would support investment and help bring forward a really good one.
He said: “When we saw the ideas from Works4U and their commitment to the area, we knew we had a fantastic partner who hit all the aspirations in the brief.
“It’s taken a while to get here, in the circumstances we all know about, which has slowed up many great ideas, but we are very much back on track.”
Mr Mackie previously outlined Works4U’s aims for Egmont Street, saying: “Our intention is to refurbish it as a café with training facilities within it for our young people to gain skills in a real environment.
“I’m probably downgrading it by calling it a café. We don’t intend for it to just be a café. It will be a venue which will incorporate community use and parties.
“We expressed an interest in pursuing discissions with the Town Council about an involvement from us in Egmont Street.
“We had hoped we could persuade the council to do an asset transfer but as we’re private, that’s not possible.
“We were talking a long-term lease as it’s our intention to spend a very considerable amount of money on the building.
“We can’t invest in a building that doesn’t belong to us, only to discover in three years’ time the council wants it back.
“That lease would still allow us to invest quite a lot of capital and still get 20 years or so use out of it.”
Managing director Wendy Mackie added: “We are delighted to pass this stage and get on with planning and the legal details.
“I am very proud that we are helping and developing special education provision for young people in Tameside.
“To do that we really want to work with local communities. This is a big extension of what we do for youngsters and giving them work experience here in future will make a huge difference for them, something they can also be proud of.”
Mossley Town Council received several expressions of interest in the Egmont Street building after inviting them.
And chairman Frank Travis said: “This is a perfect match and partnership, making a significant leap forward for our ideas about attracting more people to the park and valley, linking all sorts of leisure and community pursuits, including support for walkers and a cycling hub.”