Tenant identified to take over disused Sunderland nursery school building

Council chiefs in Sunderland have backed offering a rent concession to help bring a former nursery building back into use.

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 6:22 pm
The former Millfield Community Nursery School, in Bell Street, may shortly have a new tenant.

City council chiefs explained the former Millfield Community Nursery School, in Bell Street, is in a “poor condition” with outstanding repairs needed estimated to cost £178,050.

A tenant has been identified to take a lease of the property, which is owned by the council, and initial terms have been outlined for the grant of a 15-year lease at an annual rent of £28,000.

The tenant has agreed to undertake a number of the essential works at the property needed to make it fit for occupation, subject to the grant of a rent concession equal to the costs of those works.

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Therefore proposals went before the city council’s latest cabinet meeting to authorise the granting of a £125,000 rent concession, which was unanimously backed by councillors.

Councillor Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of the council and portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “The nursery has remained vacant since its closure in late summer 2019 and is currently in a poor condition.

“It has some significant items of outstanding repair which need to be addressed in order for the property to be brought up to a standard fit for occupation.

“Any outstanding work not covered by the rent concession will be undertaken by the tenant at their own expense. This will enable the repair and the letting of the property.”

The total cost of the essential works to be undertaken by the tenant is estimated at £111,000, which was used to calculate the rent concession sum.

The cabinet report states a further concession of £14,000, equal to six months rent free, will be granted as an incentive to take the lease, in line with commercial practice, bringing the total concession to £125,000.

The tenant will be required to undertake the works to the satisfaction of the council, demonstrate the costs represent value for money and provide evidence of the expenditure incurred.

The report warned without the rent concession the property would “not be brought up to a standard fit for occupation” and the council “may find it difficult to let” the site.

It comes after a decision was made in July 2019 for the former 120-plus capacity centre to be “discontinued” after facing a growing budget deficit.