Our community centres and libraries are under threat of closure

14 Nov 2023
Cllr Christian Hogg at Stanground Library

The council is currently in the midst of a Localities Review, this is a much-needed restart to the old Communities Asset Transfer program which stalled a couple of years ago. The interim report has been to the relevant scrutiny committee and yesterday it has now been approved by the cabinet to move to the next stage where there will be a period of engagement with the public, the operators of the sites as well as elected members.

We tried to argue that the list of locality assets up for review should be made public in October but were told that no decisions were made yet and that the list will be made public in January.

Surprisingly though, at the same cabinet meeting, yesterday, the updated disposal plan list had the following items added from the previously agreed list from July.

  • The Barn & Rear Land - Community Asset & Land
  • Hodgson Centre - Community Asset
  • Bluebell Rooms - Community Asset
  • Matley CC - Community Asset
  • Southfields CC - Community Asset
  • Stafford Hall CC - Community Asset
  • Showman's Guild & Thistle Drive CC - Land & Community Asset
  • 30 Cromwell Road - Community Asset
  • 318 Gladstone - Community Asset
  • Stanground Library - Library
  • Green Backyard - Land
  • Moore Farm - Rural
  • Eardley Grange, Speechleys Drove - Rural
  • Willow Drove Farm - Rural
  • Grays Farm - Rural
  • Land at Hall Lane, Wittering - Rural
  • Thorpe Hall Covenants - Covenant

Now until the exempt report is released in January we have no way of knowing if any of these items are part of the Localities Review, but no other reports were submitted to back the decision to include these items on the list. If they are part of the localities review it does seem to fly in the face of the assurances given to the Growth, Resources and Communities Scrutiny Committee that no decisions have been made yet and that it needs to go to public consultation before they are made.

Cllr Farooq’s cabinet have only been in the job for a matter of days now, but they seriously need to get a grip on how the council conducts itself and more importantly how it engages with residents before it makes key decisions that could see our communities lose vital resources at a time when they are needed the most with many struggling to survive in an economy of high inflation where pay is failing to keep up.

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