Generations of Brent people have, as school children, enjoyed a residential trip to the Gordon Brown Outdoor Education Centre (nothing to do with the ex-PM) which is in deepest Hampshire, near the village of Rotherwick.
The Centre is on land that once formed part of Tylney Hall which between 1933 and 1984 was a special school, latterly owned by the London Borough of Brent. It is now an upmarket hotel.
The ‘Shrubbery’ at Gordon Brown is a standalone unit with pupil and teacher dormitories and rather basic showers.
Its condition has deteriorated and there have been plans over several years for its refurbishment.
The Cabinet on Monday will debate a report that examines several options to deal with the problem. They includes investing more than £500,000 in replacing the Shrubbery, the possibility of selling the lease and making the new owner responsible for the rebuild or selling off the freehold and investing the money in a new Centre possibly nearer to Brent in Hertfordshire. LINK
Officers recommend the first option and propose to pay for it by using some money from reserves and an increase in fees:
With the agreement of Cabinet, revenue contributions from the Youth Support Service in 2012/13 (£150,000.00 held an earmarked reserve within Regeneration & Growth) and in 2013/14 (£100,000.00 held in an earmarked reserve within Children & Young People) could be used to contribute to the overall costs of this work.
It is proposed that fees be increased by 4.5% every three years to increase the income flow over the 12 years, although in the early years it would not be sufficient. Income flow would also be improved by increasing the capacity of the Shrubbery from 27 beds to more than 40.Subject to agreement to use the revenue contribution from Youth Support Services, the remaining sum of £325,000 would be re payable over a period of 12 years at an annual debt charge cost of £32,650 per annum. This cost can be met from the additional income flow over the total 12 year period