Buddhist charity wins race to land historic Scarborough lodge

Londesborough Lodge, in The Crescent, which will has been handed over by the council to a charity. 093357s       pic Andrew Higgins 14/08/09      in News
Londesborough Lodge, in The Crescent, which will has been handed over by the council to a charity. 093357s pic Andrew Higgins 14/08/09 in News
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Scarborough’s historic Londesborough Lodge has a new tenant after the council agreed to hand over the keys to a Buddhist charity.

The Ropka Trust has secured the Grade II building under a 99 year lease from the authority, after wowing the council with their proposals to transform the run-down lodge into an ‘holistic oasis’.

The charity, which has campaigned tirelessly to secure the building, was handed the lease through a Community Asset Transfer at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, after beating off bids from the Scarborough Museum Trust and the Julie Hatton School of Dance.

Cabinet member Bill Chatt said the plans are “good for Scarborough”, and campaigner Ani Tselha said that she was “relieved and elated” with the decision, which brings to an end four years of work trying to secure the building.

“I’m just so happy, and considering that we have centres in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, this really is big for the town.

“It’s a pioneering step for Scarborough, and all we’ve ever wanted to do is bring benefits to the town.”

Originally, the decision was due to be made behind closed doors, but in the end it was help in the open, after members agreed not to discuss finances.

The charity will now hold a meeting with officials next week, before work begins on renovating the disused lodge.

Around £500,000 is expected to be spent by The Ropka Trust on bringing the site up to scratch, including the removal of deadly asbestos.

The charity is hopeful the building will be open to the public within the next 12 months, and it envisions the lodge will be used to offer a wide range of holistic therapies and classes, along with a community outreach programme to tackle social issues such as drink and drug abuse.