High costs stop council from taking on centre in Amble

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

High running costs have prevented Amble Town Council from taking on an under-threat community building, but members are keen to explore other options to safeguard the site.

The Dovecote Centre shut its doors in August after Northumberland County Council decided not to renew the lease – which ends in December – from the Diocese of Newcastle.

The authority ran its Learning and Skills Service (Adult Learning) from the facility, but said that it can offer the courses from various venues in the Amble area, instead of having to fund the cost of a full-time centre. Other groups also used the building, including the Dovecote Toddler Group.

The closure has sparked concern in the community and there has been a clamour to save it.

As part of this, the town council has looked at the current running costs and lease amount – which have not been disclosed – to explore whether it could take it on. But, after seeing the figures, the council has agreed that, due to the high running costs involved, it would not be viable for the town council to take on this responsibilty.

However, the town council wants to keep in touch with the Diocese, and inform it that, while the group isn’t in a position to take it on, members would be interested in entering into discussions with the Diocese to investigate the future of retaining the building for community use and the possibility of a community partnership with other organisations.

Councillors have stressed the importance of attempting to retain it for community use.

Amble Mayor Jane Dargue said: “We aren’t giving up on it.”