Town council cash could reprieve doomed Bradford on Avon youth centre

Bradford on Avon Youth Centre users, from left: Jodie Styles (16) Cherry Riley (17), Luke Pronick (12) and Alysha Green (16) unhappy their centre is to be closed

Bradford on Avon Youth Centre users, from left: Jodie Styles (16) Cherry Riley (17), Luke Pronick (12) and Alysha Green (16) unhappy their centre is to be closed

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The closure of Bradford on Avon’s Youth Centre on August 16 could be halted by the community’s own plans to take on the building, with the town council offering up to £500 to keep it open for the town’s teenagers during the summer holidays.

Representatives from the town council, Fitzmaurice Primary School governors, the area board, Youth Advisory Group, community groups and sports clubs gathered in St Margaret’s Hall on Thursday to discuss what they could do to prevent the closure.

Town councillor Laurie Brown said: “As soon as a building closes, in my experience it is not long before the boards go up, the grass grows and developers come along.

“We have to get together as a town and not let it close. Don’t shut that door.

“Let us have a go and we will find a way to do it.”

Kevin Sweeney, a senior manager from Wiltshire Council’s integrated youth service, answered questions regarding the youth services and said: “The decision to close the building is nothing to do with the youth services. It is separate.

“Technically there is no reason why because we aren’t there it can’t be used. But how do you manage the building?

“If other people take responsibility of the building, the question is who is the person responsible for health and safety and making sure the building is safe?”
Rosemary Brown, Wiltshire Councillor for Bradford on Avon North, said:

“Because of the time constraint, the important thing is we have to make sure the boards do not go up in September. It is the next steps I am really concerned about because of the lack of time.”

Fitzmaurice School’s governors are now to ask Wiltshire Council if they can take on the building.

Their chairman Shane McCracken said: “We care about the community, we are part of it.

“We can make use of the centre as well. As a school we are growing and always in need of more space.

“I am told the running costs are £20,000 a year. As a school we couldn’t fork that out. We would be looking to see how we could run the centre more efficiently. We need to find a model that doesn’t drain finances.”

The meeting also emphasised encouraging people to join existing groups in the town, such as sports clubs and the Preservation Trust.

Simon Relph of the Preservation Trust said: “It is a desperately unattractive move by Wiltshire Council. A cut in services is inevitable but I don’t understand why the building couldn’t be kept on for others to take on and manage it.”

The town council has already decided to take action, and Cllr Alison Craddock, deputy mayor and chair of leisure youth and arts committee, read the three decisions made at last Tuesday’s full council meeting: that after a consultation with Fitzmaurice governors, scouts, the U3A and other interested stakeholders the council explore the possibility of community use of the centre l to spend up to £500 if required to keep the centre open during August; to ask Wiltshire Council if the town council can be key holders in the short term until permanent arrangements are made.

Jim Lynch, of the Bradford on Avon Community Area Network, closed the meeting reassuring people that members of the town council, Wiltshire Council, Area Board, BoACAN, Fitzmaurice governors, YAG and groups who use the centre, would be holding urgent talks to get something done.

He added: “The transition has been grievously mishandled. I believe there is a lot to play for.” 
 

Comments (7)

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10:57am Mon 4 Aug 14

brandx says...

It is heartening to see elements of the Bradford community banding together to save their youth club, but I fear they will have a hard job. Wiltshire Council has a list of seventy odd buuildings and sites they are attempting to sell off. The objective is to use the realised money to pay for all the work they have done on the refurbished Trowbridge County Hall and the two new hubs at Chippenham and Salisbury. Plus, of course, the new campuses opening in Corsham, Melksham and Salisbury.

All power to your elbow, Bradford, but I have a feeling that your youth club figures on a Wiltshire Council spread sheet as "disposable asset".
It is heartening to see elements of the Bradford community banding together to save their youth club, but I fear they will have a hard job. Wiltshire Council has a list of seventy odd buuildings and sites they are attempting to sell off. The objective is to use the realised money to pay for all the work they have done on the refurbished Trowbridge County Hall and the two new hubs at Chippenham and Salisbury. Plus, of course, the new campuses opening in Corsham, Melksham and Salisbury. All power to your elbow, Bradford, but I have a feeling that your youth club figures on a Wiltshire Council spread sheet as "disposable asset". brandx
  • Score: 6

1:23pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Terry Chivers says...

I wish BOA Town Council luck but brand x is right this is part of a bigger picture to balance books
I wish BOA Town Council luck but brand x is right this is part of a bigger picture to balance books Terry Chivers
  • Score: 5

3:39pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Elboo1992 says...

Here here! But wouldn't it be good to see the local COMMUNITY taking the bull by the horns and succeeding in getting what they actually want for a change?

'Community' is WC's favourite word at the moment, but the real community is waking up to the fact that WC doesn't listen to them. All the consultations it's held are pointless, as decisions have already been made.

Good on you BoA, go for it!
Here here! But wouldn't it be good to see the local COMMUNITY taking the bull by the horns and succeeding in getting what they actually want for a change? 'Community' is WC's favourite word at the moment, but the real community is waking up to the fact that WC doesn't listen to them. All the consultations it's held are pointless, as decisions have already been made. Good on you BoA, go for it! Elboo1992
  • Score: 12

7:55am Tue 5 Aug 14

politepanda says...

Nice gesture for the kids from the town council who at least recognised the contempt that the "consultation" was treated with by wilts council. Let's face it - let all the kids do the work to produce a good argument for keeping the services and support going - then shut the whole shooting match down anyway - just before the schools annual holiday begins.
With the spurious quip: "We haven't lied. We will ensure the service and clubs will keep going - we said we wouldn't close them and we won't. There MAY be a period of time between the old services ending and the new service starting - but the services WILL continue, as we stated".
"Period of time" - wiltscon speak for: "We'll do as we please, how we please and when we please - we answer to JS - not the public".
Nice gesture for the kids from the town council who at least recognised the contempt that the "consultation" was treated with by wilts council. Let's face it - let all the kids do the work to produce a good argument for keeping the services and support going - then shut the whole shooting match down anyway - just before the schools annual holiday begins. With the spurious quip: "We haven't lied. We will ensure the service and clubs will keep going - we said we wouldn't close them and we won't. There MAY be a period of time between the old services ending and the new service starting - but the services WILL continue, as we stated". "Period of time" - wiltscon speak for: "We'll do as we please, how we please and when we please - we answer to JS - not the public". politepanda
  • Score: 13

8:05am Tue 5 Aug 14

Elboo1992 says...

When you say JS, polite panda, do you by any chance mean Josef Stalin?!
When you say JS, polite panda, do you by any chance mean Josef Stalin?! Elboo1992
  • Score: 2

9:15am Tue 5 Aug 14

politepanda says...

Elboo1992 wrote:
When you say JS, polite panda, do you by any chance mean Josef Stalin?!
Don't think he ever worked for wiltscon.......hear he had similar ethics, though. "My way or the Highway".
[quote][p][bold]Elboo1992[/bold] wrote: When you say JS, polite panda, do you by any chance mean Josef Stalin?![/p][/quote]Don't think he ever worked for wiltscon.......hear he had similar ethics, though. "My way or the Highway". politepanda
  • Score: 12

2:48pm Tue 5 Aug 14

whatisgoingon says...

Heard that the roof in County hall is going to be updated as it look's tatty, Jane Scott buliding her own castle, B.O.A youth centre will be sold off to the developer's as Wiltshire Council has sold it's gold and silver just left with the bronze to sell off,then wait for thr rates to got up after the election.
Heard that the roof in County hall is going to be updated as it look's tatty, Jane Scott buliding her own castle, B.O.A youth centre will be sold off to the developer's as Wiltshire Council has sold it's gold and silver just left with the bronze to sell off,then wait for thr rates to got up after the election. whatisgoingon
  • Score: 6

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