* The former health centre in Regent Street is empty since the opening of the new facility in Mill Street.
LLANGOLLEN’S former health centre should be turned into a business and community hub.
That’s the suggestion by a member of the town’s Cittaslow group, which fosters economic, social and environmental sustainability.
Following the recent move by the local GP practice to a new health centre in Mill Street, questions have been raised about the future of the old building, the former National School in Regent Street.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), which owns the building adjacent to St Collen’s church hall, says it is now looking at selling or finding an alternative use for it.
Mike Edwards, a board member of Llangollen Cittaslow and also a member of the Keep Llangollen Special (KLS) community group, said: “I feel this is the health board's opportunity to help the people of Llangollen by making the property available as a business and community hub (BACH) which the chair of the Keep Llangollen Special group has already constructively discussed with Simon Dean, the acting chief executive of BCUHB.
“The idea would be to provide facilities for Llangollen's multiple small independent business and residents to offer them meeting space, ITC infrastructure for co-ordinated web and social media marketing, business start-up support, training and development to help them compete in the current volatile economy.
“It could have back-office provision such as secretarial, administration, printing and photocopying. The facility could also offer help and support for vulnerable people in our community.”
He added: “KLS would like to work with all other interested community based organisations and groups, including Cittaslow and Llangollen Food Assembly, to progress this scheme and develop a business case and plan to secure suitable grant aid and financial support.
“It should be remembered that an open market sale of the property by the health board would be complicated and difficult due to existence of the church hall co-joining the former GP surgery and the car park which is understood to be owned by the Church in Wales with rights of way and useage granted and enjoyed by the church body.
“It is also understood the local social housing providers have already turned down an offer to acquire the property.
“Another relevant factor is that the building was originally provided by voluntary public subscriptions so is and always has been an asset of community significance.”A spokesperson for BCUHB said: “The property is owned by the health board and, following completion of the new primary care resource centre, has been identified as surplus to the health board’s requirements.
“As such we will now follow the Welsh Government guidance for the disposal assets. This may include sale or alternative use subject to the appropriate approvals.”