Save The Stapleford Community Centre
Stapleford Councillors John McGrath and Richard MacRae have been contacted and met with the Stapleford Community Association with regards the plans for Broxtowe Borough Council to demolish the much used Community Centre.
The Association had contacted the leader of Broxtowe Borough Council in January 2016 and to date not had a reply to this contact to talk about the concerns they have.
The Association also contacted Stapleford Councillor John Longdon who has also not replied to them to talk to them about the concerns they have.
This Petition has been put together by Stapleford Councillors John McGrath and Richard MacRae on behalf and working with the Stapleford Community Association to ask Broxtowe Borough Council to reconsider its position and keep the Community Centre open.
Broxtowe Borough Council voted to not offer a renewal lease on the Community Centre at Cliffe Hill Avenue, Stapleford to Stapleford Community Association once it expires in October 2018.
Instead it was decided that the land would be sold and that a development of four houses would be built on the site.
The report which proposed this development was prepared by the council’s housing department and at no time was the Community Association asked for any details about what activities take place at the centre or the occupancy rate.
Furthermore, the Association was not included or consulted about the proposed development or given the opportunity to present a case for continuing to keep the Centre open.
The report was therefore likely to be heavily weighted in favour of the proposed development and therefore the Councillors undoubtedly voted on the basis of incorrect or incomplete information.
Whilst we accept that the Council is under pressure to meet its housing targets and this is a key priority of the Council, the development will only meet the needs of, at best 16 people (assuming each dwelling houses four people) or it could be as little as eight people.
By comparison the Community Centre benefits on average 300 people on a weekly basis but in truth, over the 60 years of its existence, has benefited many thousands of residents both of Stapleford and the Borough and will continue to benefit many more thousands in the future if it is permitted to do so.
All of the activities which take place in the Centre meet one of the Council’s other key priorities, namely Health, by encouraging participation in activities and also bringing people together.
Furthermore, the Council has registered the Community Centre as an Asset Of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011 and therefore has recognised its importance to the Community.
It seems inconceivable therefore that Council should now be contemplating its demolition.
This decision therefore, as we are sure you will agree, is both undemocratic and ill-conceived and the Association intends to persuade the Council of the need to reverse this decision. A view we hope you will share.
IWe have attached a précis of the activities and usage of the centre for your information, the main points of which can be summarised as follows:
1) the association has over 200 members who are all users of the Centre
2) the centre is used by, on average, 300 people of all ages, genders, race etc.
3) the centre is well maintained, well funded and well managed
4) the centre receives no funding from Broxtowe Borough Council other than a grant of £3,000 to cover the rent which is charged by the Council of the same amount
5) the activities which take place in the Centre are primarily focussed on health, exercise, well being and social interaction. They are fully consistent with the Council’s Key Priorities of health and community.
Background to Stapleford Community Association
Stapleford Community Association (the Association) is a Registered Charity, formed in 1959 with the
1) Promoting the well being of the community to “further health, advance education and provide a meeting place and facilities for physical and mental exercise, recreational, social, moral and intellectual developments.”
2) To establish, maintain and manage a Community Centre for activities in the furtherance of these and other aims
The, then, Urban District Council of Beeston and Stapleford leased a plot of land, on which the Community Centre is currently situated, to the Association for a period of fifty years. The Association raised funds through donations and fund raising activities in order to build the current Community Centre.
In the early 1990’s the Association was in a poor financial state and the Community Centre was somewhat neglected and it was during this period that most of the current management committee were elected. The finances were improved through a series of initiatives which included, fund raising, increasing revenue from hall hire, securing lottery grants, securing grants from other businesses and organisations, cutting running costs and improving efficiency. The success of these measures has been such that the Association is now well funded and is not reliant on income from outside sources. The only funding received from the Council is £3,000 per annum which is to cover the rent for the same amount, charged by the Council and hence no cash transfer takes place.
A programme of improvement and upgrading work was commenced and since this time, up to the present day, the following work has been undertaken:
1) Installing Pallisade fencing and other security measures to deter and eliminate vandalism
2) Re-felting of the roof
3) Demolishing the outside store to improve the external appearance of the Community Centre
4) Replacement of the old wooden windows with UPVC ones and replacement of the external doors.
5) Replacement of the curtains with roller blinds
6) Refurbishment of the toilets including the installation of disabled facilities
7) Replacement of the boiler
8) Refurbishment of the kitchen
9) Replacement of the old parquet flooring
10) Installation of new custom built storage cupboards
11) Resurfacing of the drive, including the area where the drive meets the car park which had become a tripping hazard
In addition, there is a regular programme of redecoration, repair and renewals to ensure that the Centre is kept in the best condition possible. The success of this is measured by the many favourable comments which we receive from hirers, prospective hirers and other visitors. In fact a group of councillors who visited the premises around two years ago during a review of all local community facilities commented that it was one of the best maintained and run of all the facilities they had seen.
The Association currently has 202 members (all of whom are regular users of the Centre). Additionally there are around 160 other users who attend activities at the Centre on a weekly basis, together with a further 80 or so who attend functions or other activities which take place on a periodic basis. Therefore, on average, there are at least 300 regular weekly users of the Community Centre.
The following groups currently use the premises on a weekly basis:
Stapleford and District Modern Sequence Dance Club – Dancing, mainly for senior citizens
Stapleford Travel and Photographic Society – Educational classes with an emphasis on photography and sharing of experiences
Duesbury Aldred Dance Centre – Ballroom dance classes for all ages from young children to senior citizens
Stapleford Adult Tap Group – Tap dancing classes for adults
Shape – Evening Aerobics and Pilates Classes
Young At Heart – Exercise classes mainly for retirees
C D’Afflito – Day time Pilates classes
F Hardstaff – Morning Exercise classes mainly for retirees and the physically impaired
R Holden – Yoga classes
Sole Nutrition – Classes for care, first aid and massage of babies, new borns and young children
In addition, we have a Ferret Club who meet about seven times a year and a number of one off hirers for events such as parties, weddings and wakes which take place throughout the year.
The Hall is also used as a polling station and the officials at the Council who organise the polling have told us that there is nowhere else suitable in the vicinity which could be used as an alternative.
All of the activities above are consistent with the Associations aims of encouraging and promoting: health, exercise, education and community and are entirely consistent with Broxtowe Borough Council’s key priorities and also those of the Broxtowe Borough Partnership namely health, participation in activities and bringing people together.
One of the key aims of the Association is to ensure that the cost of classes is kept low to ensure that participation in activities at the Centre is available to as many people as possible. We have a wide range of users from diverse backgrounds but many are on low or fixed incomes. Our users include children, pensioners, people with learning difficulties and also with physical impairments and disabilities.
If the hall were to close then many of the activities for which we provide facilities would not take place within the town. The nearest leisure centres are either at Sandiacre or Long Eaton (both run by Erewash Borough Council), neither have rooms available of a similar size to the hall and those they do have are considerably more expensive putting them beyond the reach of many of our users. Halls which are similar to our own in the area such as Washington Drive are already in use at similar times to our own and so would be unable to accommodate any additional activities currently taking place in the Centre.
We are regularly contacted by groups looking for premises to hire either for regular or one off activities, who we cannot accommodate, showing that there is a demand for such facilities beyond the available supply and having already demolished one such facility, namely the Maycliffe Hall, this demand will only increase.
Vice Chair of Management Committee
Stapleford Community Association (Registered Charity Number 522182)
Councillor John McGrath, Stapleford Councillor
Councilor Richard MacRae, Stapleford Councillor