Petition launched to save Stapleford Community Centre
Activity groups may have to find somewhere else to operate because the community venue where they meet is under threat as part of a council’s plans to make way for housing.
Stapleford Community Centre, in Cliff Hill Avenue, will not have its lease renewed by Broxtowe Borough Council when it runs out in October 2018, as the local authority looks to replace it with “much-needed housing“.
But the council has a fight on its hands, as a petition has been set up to try to get the decision reversed.
The building, which was originally a youth club in 1959, is used by around 300 people a week.
It provides a base for a number of activities, including dance classes, a camera club, aerobics, slimming classes, keep-fit for the over-50s and ferret club meetings, and the hall can be hired for children’s parties, wedding functions, tai chi, pilates, yoga and baby massage.
Members of the Stapleford Community Association, which helps to run the centre, fear some of these groups will fold if they lose their meeting place.
Association secretary Hazel Stenson, who has been on the committee since 1985, said: “I don’t know where people will go if we have to close, especially the dancing, as finding a hall with a suitable floor is very difficult.
“It’s well used on a daily basis, from morning until evening.
“Our lease runs out in October 2018, but time goes so quickly these days. Our vice-chairman, Robert Aldred, has been writing lots of letters to all the local Councillors and we have had several meetings with them.
“It’s going to be such a shame – we would lose all these groups.”
Stapleford Councillors Richard MacRae and John McGrath have launched an online petition, calling on people to help save the centre.
The petition condemns the council’s decision as “undemocratic and ill-conceived”.
Mandy McConnell, who signed the online document, wrote: “This is a vital place where you can make friends and enjoy many activities. If there are more houses and flats being built in Stapleford, the residents will need this place even more!”
Amy Davis wrote: “I use this hall regularly and it’s well equipped and a great facility for the community, would be a very sad loss.”
Cllr MacRae told the Post: “The committee is obviously concerned that when the lease runs out they will have nowhere to go. It’s not like it’s not well used. It’s such a nice building.”
A spokeswoman for Broxtowe Borough Council said: “Cabinet agreed in 2015 not to renew the lease at the community centre in order to use the land for much-needed housing development and the community centre was informed of this.
“A study of community centres by the People and Places Examination Inquiry Group in 2012 fully audited community centres in the borough and their activities and this was taken in to account as part of the decision-making process.
“The group was offered alternative accommodation, which was turned down and is now no longer available.
“We continue to work to find suitable alternative accommodation. Our estates manager and a local councillor have met with representatives from the community centre and we are currently considering their comments.”
The petition, which so far has 170 signatures, can be found at https://www.change.org/p/broxtowe-borough-council-save-the-stapleford-community-centre.
Paper petitions will also be handed out in the shops along Derby Road in Stapleford.