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EAB Archive 2001-03-31 Building Update

Barlaston Update

At the 2000 Annual General Meeting we had reported the decision to relocate the office and library to Wedgwood Memorial College at Barlaston; following that the solicitors started drawing up the legal paperwork. This has been a very protracted process, but at the 2001 AGM on March 31st, Bill Walker reported that just days earlier they had finally agreed the wording of the final drafts.

The agreement contains everything previously discussed with the college; EAB will pay the cost (£171,579 excluding VAT) of converting the existing coach-house to an office, a purpose-built library room extension and (because planning regulations require a pitched roof) three attic bedrooms. In exchange for this and a ground rent of £1000 (index linked) per year, Stoke on Trent will grant us a 99 year lease on the property. The college will have use of the bedrooms and daytime use of the library room (although EAB may book that with advance notice), and in exchange they will carry the repair and maintenance burden of the entire building, and will give Esperantists a 10% discount on the college Bed and Breakfast service. Not only does this arrangement relieve EAB of the financial and administrative burdens of property management, it means that the college will regularly fill the library room with adults who spend time and money learning as a leisure activity; an ideal target (and 'captive') audience for our Esperanto promotion.

The Management Committee has considered the solicitorís report and the legal documents, and has made the formal decision to proceed, subject to equitable clarification of a few outstanding points. We expect construction to start in late-spring or early-summer 2001.

Our plans for the building are that the library will continue to be named after Montague Butler, while the bedrooms will be named in honour of:

Also at the AGM, Derek Tatton, principal of Wedgwood Memorial College, explained that David Kelso (our Director of Development) will appear on the college management structure, making EAB a partner in the college and giving us access to a network of Adult Education providers. The college is exploiting a government initiative to support people over 50 volunteering for community service, which will fund the expenses for Esperantist Ellen Rooney to work as a part-time volunteer at the college and EAB office. The college is expanding its own promotion of Esperanto, through new Esperanto courses, the college website, publicity and college postcards. The college has agreed to provide some temporary accommodation to EAB free of charge, while the building work proceeds, so that we can start to transfer the EAB office functions to Barlaston this summer.

Bill Walker

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