Jake Lukas & the Directors - Novalis Trust (Chine School): Do not close the Half Way House Pub in Box Village. THE COMMUNITY WANTS ITS PUB
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The Half Way House (HWH) is a well used facility which dates back to 1779 (233 years). It is an important part of the local community and is well used as a pub, meeting place, restaurant, recreation facility, club and society meeting place, music, function and wedding centre. The Chine school is a publically funded Charity and had no right to use Public funds to purchase the HWH and then without any consultation close that facility. The HWH is an extremely important and valued local and regional facility.
At the time of the negotiations to purchase the Halfway House, the representative of the Chine School said: “This is a lovely pub, adjacent to the School’s land. It is also a valued local amenity…the School’s Trustees have legal duties to invest funds to good effect…This seems to be a much better, community based investment, than just letting the money sit in the bank…This project gives the school the opportunity to continue what the current owners have done, and create a unique, ‘village-owned’ and independent character for the property.”
Having acquired the HWH the Chine (Novalis) proceeded to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on the property which included state of the art toilets, kitchen and equipment, furniture, internal camera monitoring equipment, music systems etc, none of which was necessary or of direct benefit to the students of the Chine or the community.
The manner in which the HWH was leased and the subsequent occurrences are another matter but ultimately the school was run by the Chine under a new management company, ‘Cotswold Chine Enterprises’ which later changed it's name to 'The Spiritual World Ltd'. In summary, the business failed leaving a number of local creditors and staff unpaid. The Chine (Novalis) continued to purchase other properties.
After a six month closure Venueplus took on the lease and successfully ran the HWH for three and a half years until it’s closure on the 8th July 2012.
The closure of the HWH and the way it has been handled is of extreme concern to the community. The closure is completely unnecessary and clearly represents another agenda. The community do not want a café or shop.
The petition action is not an attack on the Chine School who provide a valuable service to youngsters with “…emotional and behavioural problems.” The community is very concerned about the closure of a very important facility and how it’s public funds are being wasted when public facilities throughout the country are being reduced through lack of funds. There has been a clear abuse of public TRUST and serious mismanagement of Funds by those running the Novalis Trust / Chine School.
* The Half Way House sold back into private ownership and re-opened
* A full investigation into the financial and operational affairs of the Chine school over the last 10 years
* Independent Trustees who can be 'Trusted', appointed to the Board of the Novalis Trust and Chine School
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