Monday 20 May 2024
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Former Community Centre demolition gets the green light

A former community centre will be demolished after a plea to reopen it was rejected by Ashfield District Council.

Brierley House in Sutton’s Carsic estate closed last year, with the council saying it was used for just five hours across 12 months in 2022 and 2023.

It will be knocked down and two adapted-living bungalows for elderly residents built in its place.

Council leader Jason Zadrozny (Ashfield Ind) told the committee the homes were desperately needed, and other community facilities were available nearby.

However Councillor Cathy Mason (Lab) said the demolition would be a blow for the area, which is amongst the most deprived in Ashfield.

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“This should be a hub for social interaction and cohesion. The council points to one years’ low usage hours as justification for demolition,” she said.

“They have steam-rolled ahead with their plans regardless of local voices and an 800-signature petition.”

She described it as a “lifeline for disabled and elderly”, saying there was no suitable alternative.

The building closed during the pandemic, and use went from around 26 per cent of the time to less than one per cent when it reopened.

Cllr Mason claimed that community groups weren’t properly notified that the centre was open again again.

However, Cllr Zadrozny responded that there were five public buildings within a mile which community groups could use.

“It’s a difficult balance to strike. We have 4,300 Ashfield residents on the housing waiting list, which is an enormous challenge,” he said.

“The fact is every single social house we can build is booked up before we start  – we are in desperate need and can’t build them fast enough.

“The building costs £40,000 to run and maintain. It needs tens of thousands of pounds of capital work – it’s essentially a failing building, and has been there since early-70s.”

The centre previously held educational workshops, cultural events, children’s art classes and social events for the elderly.

At the same time as Cabinet approved the closure in 2023, it also gave the green-light to demolish another under-used community centre on Mill Lane, Huthwaite, and replace it with two semi-detached homes.

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