A TOWN council has decided not to take on a community building after it emerged repair costs could run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Prudhoe Town Council was looking at taking over the East Centre from Northumberland County Council via a community asset transfer.

However, councillors decided the long-term commitment, with no real idea of how the money would be recouped, was too large a financial burden to take on. A building survey found that necessary work would cost up to £657,498.

Meanwhile, a 2015 summary of conditions survey by the county council identified more than £1m in capital expenditure would be required over the next ten years to maintain the site.

Residents would be forced to pay an extra £32.33 a year to fund the remedial work, and between £9 a year over 20 years or £76 per year over two years to cover the cost of a loan the council would need to take out to fund the work, depending on the length of the loan.

Councillors felt that the rise in the precept that would be too much of a burden to place on residents.

Chairman Coun. Tracy Gilmore: “I just can’t see how we as a council can afford to take this on.

“We have the people of Prudhoe to look after. By putting the precept up that much, we’re not looking after their interests. I don’t see any point going further. We all know in our heart of hearts that this isn’t going any further.”

Councillors criticised successive administrations at Northumberland County Council for allowing the building to fall into disrepair.

Coun. Gordon Stewart said: “The East Centre is a subject close to the heart of so many people. We’re looking forward to having discussions with other interested parties.”