A MUCH-LOVED former children's centre which stood disused for more than a year is set to be brought back into community use.

Braintree Council says it has taken possession of the premises formerly home to children’s charity PARC (Essex) after its trustees surrendered the lease to the property last week, Friday, September 8.

The building in Great Notley, near Braintree, closed suddenly when the charity got into financial difficulties last year.

Braintree and Witham Times: The PARC Essex site closed last June, and has been vacant ever since The PARC Essex site closed last June, and has been vacant ever since (Image: Public)

The charity, which provided short breaks care for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, has since been forced to wind up operations. 

Braintree Council now hopes to to bring the building back into operational use.

This process includes giving PARC’s liquidators access to the building for a period of time to ‘call-in’ the charity’s assets, emptying the building of its contents and tending to the overgrown grounds, and ensuring it is safe and secure for future staff, children and their families.

The council says a new occupier with the "right credentials and experience" will need to be chosen to take over the use of the building.

The process is expected to take several months before the premises can re-open and become fully operational again.

Braintree Council said families affected by the previous closure were supported throughout and have been "accessing alternative provision".

Braintree and Witham Times: Councillor Kevin BowersCouncillor Kevin Bowers (Image: Braintree Council)

Council resources and performance boss Kevin Bowers said: “With the surrender now complete, we can begin the process of bringing the property, which has been left unattended for over a year, back into operational use.

"We need to make sure the building is cleared and the environment is safe and secure for users of the site before a new occupier can take on the building.

"We also need a robust process in place which selects a suitable organisation to take over the lease and take advantage of its specialist facilities.

"We need to get this process right because we know how important this building and the services it can support are to families and children with complex needs.”

PARC chair of trustees Janet Perry added: "We are grateful that the handover of the premises is now complete and that steps to bring the building back into use again can be taken.”