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Latest on Haven House

Many of our supporters are asking where things stand with Haven House, not least because there has been supportive media coverage in recent days. In essence, this is where we are:

Haven House is now formally up for sale and is being marketed by Savills, estate agents.

For anyone with at least £800,000 to spare, the details can be found via this link:

Those of you with eagle eyes will quickly spot that the sales particulars do not mention planning potential, for example as a private dwelling house, simply listing the existing planning permissions instead.

We understand this might be because, in Savills own words “We are advertising “offers invited” and will be suggesting that we would expect to achieve an unconditional sale in excess of £800,000 (VAT not applicable). Whilst this would be an excellent private dwelling, the feeling is the politically charged nature of the sale will make planning a challenge, but we will not discourage interest.

The fact that they acknowledge that change of use to a private dwelling might be ‘politically charged’ is testament to the success of all our efforts to make it clear to HCC the degree of opposition to any buyer seeking a change of use of Haven House, and might encourage bids from those interested in running Haven House as a café/restaurant and holiday flats. Whilst this would not achieve the benefits of the community hub that we want to create, at least we might get a café back.

In other news, HCC have issued a press release after our last meeting with them on 3 October which yet again misleads people about the scale of the financial challenge facing the Haven, referring to a shortfall of £1.8m. We know from their own figures that this was the original figure last autumn and includes the monies for repairs to Haven Cottage, which has already been sold and Haven House, which is being sold. The real figure required to fund works to the Haven and in needlessly re-providing new visitor reception facilities, which we will happily provide in Haven House, (again based on their own calculations), is £1.3m, and is the figure upon which we based our revised bid. As you will recall, nearly half that £1.3m is for the new visitor and staff facilities in the back yard, and only £670,000 is for repairs to the nature reserve.

They also point out that repairs to the nature reserve were delayed by the six month moratorium arising from the Asset of Community Value listing we obtained for Haven House. However, Haven Cottage was put up for sale at the beginning of 2023 and was sold some months ago, providing significant funds for use on the reserve.

HCC have also repeated their totally unfounded assertion about our business plan relying on ‘ambitious income targets to meet revenue costs’. This is despite our repeated offers to meet with their finance officer to go through the financial spreadsheets attached to our bid – most recently on 3 October - which they have declined.

We understand that the marketing period will end mid- to end November. In the mean time we will be sending HCC further information, to help them understand how we will raise the funds to back up our bid and to spell out the social value of running Haven House as a community hub.

Do share this update – which also appears on Facebook Save our Haven Centre! – with any friends who would be interested.


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