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EAB Archive 2000-07 Building Update

Barlaston Update

In 1999, EAB sold its premises at Holland Park Avenue and decided to move the office and Butler Memorial Library to a building on the Wedgwood Memorial College campus. Since then we have been negotiating the specification and the 99-year leasehold agreement for this building, tentatively named "Esperanto House". Those negotiations have been protracted because, although the College and EAB believe that the venture will be of mutual benefit, we must have a formal agreement which satisfies the legal obligations of both the local authority (who own the site) and the trustees of the charity.

As of July 2000, we have reached agreement on some major points; the college (or successor local authority educational establishment) will have use of the building's three bedrooms and (through advance booking) the library room for hosting courses, but will cover the whole building's maintenance and repair responsibilities. (At Holland Park Avenue we were responsible for all maintenance outgoings, which was a significant and unpredictable burden, both cost- and time-wise, and diverted effort from the aim of the charity - the promotion of Esperanto. So being relieved of such a burden is a significant advantage for the Association.) Members of the association (e.g. wishing to visit the library) will be able to book Bed and Breakfast at the college (using bedrooms in Esperanto House or elsewhere in the college) at a 10% discount from standard rates, but will need to give significant notice to be sure of getting a place.

Leasehold negotiations are continuing over payment timing, control of possible building cost overruns, detailed arrangements should EAB need to sell the lease, and apportionment of utility bills. Thus there is still some legal work to do, but our solicitor does feel that an equitable agreement is achievable. Once the agreement has been signed, we expect the building work to take about five months. In anticipation of this, the Association's management committee are starting to plan for occupation, staffing and operation of both the office and the library. Currently, the committee are having to focus on such 'housekeeping' matters, but as the leasehold agreement and relocation progress to completion over the next year we should to commit more of our attention to outward-facing initiatives.

Vilĉjo Walker

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