Fight continues to save community building

The Dovecote Centre in Amble.
The Dovecote Centre in Amble.

Crunch talks are likely to take place to discuss the future of the recently-closed Dovecote Centre and how it can be saved as a community venue.

The facility shut in August after Northumberland County Council decided not to renew the 10-year lease – which expires in December – from the Diocese of Newcastle.

The authority had run its Learning and Skills Service (Adult Learning) from the building, but said that it could offer the courses from various venues in the Amble area, instead of having to fund the cost of a full-time centre.

A number of groups, such as the Dovecote Toddler Group, also used the facility.

At last Thursday’s Amble Town Council meeting, June Watson expressed her dismay. Speaking during public question time, she said the closure was a big shame and a mistake.

In reply, Coun Robert Arckless said that he had spoken to the county council’s deputy chief executive, who told him that she would try to convene a meeting with the appropriate partes. He added: “The first stage would be to consider what the costs were and I hope it won’t be too long until we can convene a meeting to consider the whole situation.

“But I don’t want to make any rash promises. We need to look carefully at this and consider what funding options there are and what support there would be and how we can make it viable.

“There are other issues too, like access to the building. But if there is a lot of community support and it helps make it more viable, then nobody would be more pleased than me.”

The town council has said that it hopes to commence talks with the diocese and the county council regarding the centre’s future and retaining it as a community building.