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Conservative cuts hit local groups

January 4, 2019 7:00 AM
By Alain Dekker & Cllr Abul Koher Chowdhury in Focus on North Camp & St Mark's

Local community groups are set to fold thanks to the Conservative run Council closing Farnborough Community Centre.

Earlier this year the Farnborough Community Centre Association trustees announced they could no longer run the centre beyond the end of 2018. The trustees are getting older and couldn't find anyone new to look after the community centre on a voluntary basis.

Conservative run Rushmoor Borough Council almost immediately announced that the Community Centre would close. The Council has admitted that some community groups will fold because they can't find suitable alternative places to meet.

The Council owned Community Centre sits on a high value site next to the proposed "Civic Quarter". It now seems clear the Council encouraged the closure of the Community Centre so it can demolish the building, sell off the site for a lot of money and put up a new hotel.

Alain Dekker and Cllr Abul Koher Chowdhury discuss the effect of Conservative cuts on local groups. (Rushmoor Liberal Democrats)

Alain Dekker and Cllr Abul Koher Chowdhury discuss the effect of Conservative cuts on local groups.

Local Liberal Democrat Cllr Abul Koher Chowdhury said "I think the Council has allowed the building to deteriorate. They seem to have made no effort to find new trustees or to consider how the centre might to continue to operate. The closure of the Centre is a red light for local groups.

"The community centre is a heritage building dating back to late Victorian times. There seems to have been no assessment of the cost of repairing the building and retaining it as a community resource, and no suggestions on how the building could be replaced."

Alain Dekker added, "I think the Council has got its priorities wrong. We're a relatively wealthy borough. "Let's talk about a new future for the Community Centre based on an assessment of what our community needs ather than the amount of money we can make by tearing it down."