I’ll fight to keep this centre open

A PARISH council chairman has promised to ‘fight hard’ to stop any possible closure of a ‘vital’ community centre.

Coun Scott Dickinson said he was ‘appalled’ at the ‘mini budget’ which was approved last month by Northumberland County Council’s executive, setting out more than £18million of savings on local services.

As part of the cuts, £250,000 is to be shed from community buildings, prompting fears that some could close – including the Druridge Bay Community Centre.

County Coun Glen Sanderson, ward member for Chevington with Longhorsley, recently told the Gazette that he would battle to protect the facility.

And Coun Dickinson, chairman of East Chevington Parish Council, has also pledged his commitment to the cause.

“East Chevington Parish Council supports Druridge Bay Community Centre and supports the groups and service-users of the centre. We pay rent to the county council and believe the centre is a vital part of our community,” he said.

“I am appalled at the ‘mini budget’ and I will fight hard to protect the Druridge Bay Community Centre within this parish.”

Coun Dickinson said that the community had been hit hard recently, including by last year’s closure of Druridge Bay Middle School.

He added: “Our parish council can’t continue to pick up all the slack from the county council and could in future be forgiven for asking Northumberland County Council for a contribution from residents’ council tax as we continue to face the further demise of services and find ourselves having to step in as best we can to support the most vulnerable members of our community.

“East Chevington Parish Council demands that the county council’s leadership meet us to discuss its actual plans and reassure the parish that all avenues will be explored before a decision is finally made and that a public consultation with our community is started to ensure we are able to play a part in how our council tax is spent.”

“I’m personally confident that any talk of closure will be met by hard opposition from the people of East Chevington.”