Developer buys up derelict buildings
The owners of a Bath building firm are buying two derelict properties which local people want to be turned into a community centre.
Bathwick-based Emerys of Bath is about to exchange contracts on 3 and 4 Longacre in London Road, which along with the next door number 2 have been targeted by a local pressure group.
The Friends of Longacre Hall group had wanted to acquire all three properties from landlord Bath and North East Somerset Council to create a new business, training and community centre and cafe.
Now the group and the Vision umbrella organisation representing people through- out London Road are keen to meet Emerys joint managing directors Julian and Simon Emery to discuss the future of the buildings.
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Julian Emery said they were keen to improve what he called a "blot on the landscape".
"We want to work with the community. There will be some negotiations with the community to see if there is a scheme that fits," he said.
The council is still in talks with housing organisation Places for People, which has more than 30 years still to run on its lease for number 2.
The Friends group says Places for People has had enough time to come up with a use for its property and should have its lease terminated.
The council has found £750,000 for improvements to the London Road area after Vision put together a report based on the views of more than 600 residents.
Two years ago, Emerys bought nearby Burdall's Yard, which is now used by Bath Spa University as a music centre.
Vision spokeswoman Susan Traill said: "We welcome Emerys' involvement and hope we can be in contact soon to explore what we can do together."
Vision's network includes local residents and entrepreneurs from the London Road area, the Friends group, the Snowhill Organisation residents' association, the London Road and Snow Hill Partnership, Snow Hill Art Club, the Friends of Kensington Meadows and Kilter Theatre.
Ms Traill said of the council spending: "This major investment is an excellent outcome for the hard work of Vision and other local organisations. It will go some way to meeting the aspirations of the community and to addressing decades of neglect by the policymakers and planners.
"We want to ensure that the projects that benefit from this large amount of money will underpin significant and lasting progress for local residents."
A public meeting takes place at 7pm tonight at the Gateway Centre in London Road to discuss ideas for spending the £750,000.