Saturday 25 May 2024
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Former community centre in Nottinghamshire faces demolition

A former Nottinghamshire community centre is facing demolition after a council said it was used for only five hours in a year.

Brierley House in Sutton’s Carsic estate wasn’t sustainable to keep running, Ashfield District Council says.

An application by the council to knock the Brierley Road building down and build two council bungalows will go before the authority’s own planning committee next week.

However, local residents have urged the council to consider reopening it.

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The community centre temporarily closed during the pandemic, and its use never recovered after lockdown was lifted.

It went from being used for 568 hours in 2019/20 (26 per cent of the time) to just five hours in 2022/23 (0.2 per cent).

The council says Brierley House didn’t generate any income that year, while its annual maintenance costs exceeded £8,000.

It would also need investment of around £37,000 over the next five years to keep it fit for purpose.

However, there has been a community backlash to the plans, with around 30 objections submitted to the council.

Councillor Cathy Mason (Lab) wrote:

“To remove the only council bookable venue purposely-built for this community to meet to reduce social isolation, loneliness and have a chance at reducing anti-social behaviour would only increase the deprivation levels, definitely having a negative impact on the character of the area.”

Another resident said it provided “irreplaceable value” for the community through educational workshops, cultural events, children’s art classes and social events for the elderly.

Ashfield District Council has been contacted for comment.

At a meeting last year, when the council first proposed the plans, Councillor John Wilmott (Ashfield Ind) described the application as “a no-brainer”.

“I agree entirely that, if the centres are not being used for their intended purpose, they should be used for a useful purpose.

“What’s better than council and affordable homes? We have so many people on our waiting list – an incredible amount of people.”

The council has also proposed to demolish another under-used community centre on Mill Lane, Huthwaite, and replace it with two semi-detached homes.

The joint cost would be £743,000, with Homes England expected to cover some of the costs.

The Brierley House application will be heard by Ashfield District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday, April 17.

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