CDF – The Society – Brief story so far
When the Police Authority announced they wanted to dispose of the Police Station on the High Street a small group of us got together, people who believe the building could become the heart of the Town for the community, it certainly needed a makeover, and we wanted to avoid it being sold and turned into just another residential house on the high street.
That’s the stage CDF (The Society), was really born. So, to cut a long story short, with the support of Cricklade Town Council and Wiltshire Council, legal work was carried out to set up the official organisation as a “Not for Profit” Community Benefit Society and Land Trust.
Over the past year or so, the group’s ideas expanded to include broader aims for the High Street. There are three main aims – The Police Station remains a central community focused project, also to maintain our High Street shops and Services by avoiding conversion to residential space, and finally to help local people get a start to rent their own first accommodation we aim to convert first floor space where possible to affordable starter flats.
Whilst waiting for a possible suitable project, still hoping for the Police Station as the first one, we have continued to try and communicate with the Police, continued to get support from Cricklade and Wiltshire Council. We also applied and got approval for the Police Station to become an official “Asset of Community Value”. This is something registered through Wiltshire Council and it means the owner of the property have to give six months’ notice when they intend to sell – it does not mean they have to do anything different on selling price, but at least gives the group time to try and raise funds.
At this time the group were advised the old Lloyd’s Bank building was being put up for sale, and as this building is also classified as commercial we submitted another request to Wiltshire Council for it to be an “Asset of Community Value”, this time although initial approval was given the owner appealed and the appeal was upheld, in fact it is now up for sale and also going through the process of a request to change its designation to a residential premises. Because of this the current sales price is high. We did view the premises and although quite extensive, really does need a lot of renovation, made all the difficult by being listed. This one is not totally resolved but has several big complications.
Supporters have been signed up to our aims and a certain level of possible investment has been identified. We haven’t really pushed on this as we feel it will be better to wait until we have a really tangible project.
We have Facebook, Website and publicity materials in the wings waiting to go when the time is right – all funded by grants from Wiltshire Council. All we need now is some action, by a suitable building becoming available (preferably the Police Station, but if not then another on the High Street).
Work will also commence in December to undertake a High Street survey to establish what the community really want on our High Street and the position with current traders. High Streets all over the country are disappearing – to Cricklade this would be a disaster for many of our residents.
We are still in early stages and will need a great deal of support once a project is identified, both community involvement and financial, but the group remains as keen as ever to move forward.