Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Meeting with Greg Smith

After starting up the Action Group, one of the first things we did was to set up a meeting with councillors in order to voice our opposition to the sale.  At this meeting, we presented them with a dossier which outlined, in detail, our case for keeping the Centre open.  We agreed with Cllr Smith that the Centre was run down and underused but put the blame for this fairly and squarely on the Council's shoulders by demonstrating to them that this was entirely their fault: the Centre has been poorly advertised and, to a large extent, mismanaged for years.  For instance:

•  Potential letting business has been turned away.
•  Gym equipment has not been repaired.
•  The Library is under-stocked.
•  Adult Education does not offer enough courses or enough variety.

The Action Group presented Cllr Smith, Cllr Steve Hamilton and officers of the Council (including Gill Sewell and Sue Harris) with a dossier outlining the case for keeping the Centre.  This dossier contained dozens of letters of support from, amongst others, teachers at the Centre, the Police and a child psychologist.  Since then, of course, we have received hundreds more letters.  As we received these, often by email, we forwarded them on to the Council. No letter, no comment and no email was wasted. We thoroughly appreciate them all.

At the meeting Greg Smith, of course, merely stated the case for closing the Centre and all this on purely financial grounds.  At no time did he even vaguely concede that there may be any other option to a straight sale and thus it was apparent, from the outset, that the Council had made up its mind.

Disappointingly, our Ward Councillor, Steve Hamilton, agreed with him on every point... but more of our Ward Councillors later.

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