THE MANAGING director of the company which will own The Grange has admitted he is ‘disappointed’ by the Malvern Civic Society’s reaction to challenge the move.
Robert Eyre from Leviathan Consulting, claimed the society’s complaint to the Local Ombudsman about how Malvern Hills District Council agreed to sell the property was ‘knee jerk’ because they did not get their own way.
He also accused the organisation of being ‘biased’ in the hope of ‘influencing a different outcome’.
Mr Eyre went on to say the civic society failed to put in a bid or provide a business plan for the Grade II listed property and did not apply for it to be registered as an asset of community value.
The Leviathan boss also claimed if the council ‘asset transferred’ The Grange as the society had also suggested, it would require ‘significant’ funds to renovate it and the building would require on-going maintenance costs.
My Eyre also moved to outline the positives of his company taking over and vowed to refurbish the property ‘sympathetically’ and ensure its Grade II listed features remained.
He added that new and small businesses which would ultimately be renting the office from Leviathan would benefit from having access to the company’s expertise as well as the firm’s finance director.
“We saw significant potential in The Grange, it was a nail biting wait while the bids went to committee and we are overjoyed to be selected the winner,” said Mr Eyre.
“We hope to become an integral part of Great Malvern’s business community.”
He added he would be happy to meet with Malvern Civic Society to discuss the building.
In response Clive Hooper, the society’s chairman, clarified the group’s ‘quarrel’ was with the council not Leviathan and welcomed the chance to meet with Mr Eyre.
He reiterated the civic society’s application for The Grange to be registered as a community asset was legally valid which should of meant any sale proceedings were suspended to give local groups the chance to bid.
Mr Cooper claimed the council had deliberately excluded the group’s interest.
Malvern Hills District Council has always maintained the civic society never completed and submitted their application on the proper form despite being advised by officers