'New lease of life' plan
The landlord of a conference centre says it is looking to re-open the venue weeks after it closed.
The company which operated Highpoint Conference Centre, in Glenfield Road, Leicester, shut with the loss of 14 jobs.
However, the reasons for its original closure remain unclear after seemingly contrasting reasons were put forward by the landlord and occupier.
The TREES social enterprise put its Highpoint Events subsidiary, which operated the centre, into liquidation last month.
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TREES bosses have partly blamed this on the fact it "couldn't get an extension" to its lease.
However, landlord Asra Housing Group has said it offered the business a "significant" reduction on its rent for this year.
Matt Cooney, chief executive of Asra Housing Group, said: "Over recent years we have agreed annual leases for the Highpoint centre and this arrangement appeared to suit both sides.
"Also, in light of the tough economic conditions, we had agreed a reduced rent payment for 2011/12 and a significantly reduced rate for the current financial year. Highpoint is a very important project for us and we did everything we could to help within reason.
"Our focus now is on trying to find a suitable partner to help us get the building re-opened."
However, Aimi Townsend, TREES marketing and communications manager, said: "We had to close it because we couldn't get an extension on the lease and because of the market conditions as people are now holding meetings internally or online.
"Highpoint had a lot of potential. We tried a few things to save it. Perhaps five years ago it would have been easier to team up with a corporate name or another social enterprise. But there's people fighting their own battles out there."
Highpoint was created as a conference and training centre 10 years ago after a former convent and chapel was converted in a £5 million project by the Leicester Housing Association, of Leicester, which has since changed its name to Asra Housing Group.
TREES – which stands for training, regeneration, education, employment and sustainability – is still based at an office at the rear of Highpoint site, where it employs about 12 people.
Social enterprises such as TREES are non-profit making, using their surplus cash to invest into good causes.
Ms Townsend said: "Social enterprise is the fastest growing business sector in the UK at the moment, but it's still not unaffected by the recession.
"We needed to make the business decision to close it to focus on more viable projects due to market conditions."
The centre has a 130-seat conference theatre, 12 meeting and training rooms, IT suite, 28 en-suite executive bedrooms, a restaurant and a bar.