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Council compromise over community room closure

Council compromise over community room closure

At its meeting on 14th December the Cabinet of Chesterfield Borough Council decided to compromise over its original decision to close the community rooms at Monkwood Road, Dunston and Wimborne Crescent, Newbold. These two well-used community rooms will now be kept open and the Council will carry out checks over the next twelve months to see exactly how much use is made of the facilities by the community. The Council will then use this monitoring information to decide the long-term future of these two rooms.

The decision follows a recommendation in July by the Council’s Scrutiny Board to whom the Cabinet’s original decision was referred for consideration and review.

Spokesperson for Dunston and Moor Residents and Tenants Association, Graham King, said,

“This is a significant victory for the community groups who hold their meetings and activities in these two community rooms. It is also a triumph for common sense. It took a long public campaign that started back in September last year and involved several public meetings, two community petitions, two public demonstrations and referral of the Cabinet’s decision to the Scrutiny Board; but we got there in the end. At least we now know that the Council will collect accurate information about how much use is made of these facilities by the Community before they decide the long-term future of the two community rooms. Hopefully this time the Council will also identify and consult all the user groups before they make their final decision”.

Graham went on to say,

“The Association remains worried by the proposed big increase in the hire fees to be charged to community groups for hiring the rooms. In our opinion £20 +VAT for a hire period of up to three hours is far too much for a small community room. It is likely to discourage a lot of community groups from hiring the rooms. But at least the Council has said that it will not bring in the increase until June 2011. This gives the community groups who use these rooms at present some time to consider their options for the future.”

Chesterfield Member of Parliament, Toby Perkins MP paid tribute to the campaign run by Graham King and Dunston & Moor Residents and Tenants Association:

“Graham King, Mick Leverton, Mark Rayner, Gordon Simmons, Trevor Reynolds and all those involved in the campaign deserve a large vote of thanks for the principled, intelligent and determined way in which they were able to demonstrate the folly of this closure proposal. It is a real shame that 10 other facilities across the town will be closed without the opportunity to see if more could be done to promote their usage first. We will all be working to make sure that these facilities don’t just get a temporary reprieve but are permanently secured for the many community groups across Dunston and Whittington Moor who rely on these facilities”.

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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