Peterborough community hubs undergo review of use

Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph -, @peterboroughtel on Twitter,
Peterborough City Council news from the Peterborough Telegraph -, @peterboroughtel on Twitter,
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Community centres in Peterborough may be shut and library staff axed following a review of the way the services are used.

The report, following a consultation by Peterborough City Council, suggested some of its 33 centres may be closed down, or see funding removed as it looks to cut costs.

A final decision might not be made until March, 2016 with the council set to undergo fact-finding on each centre.

However, concerned councillors looked for reassurances that everything would be done to keep community centres open.

Speaking at the council’s strong and supportive communities scrutiny committee, Councillor Lisa Forbes said: “We have lost play centres and residental homes for the elderly. It sounds like more of the same to me but I hope you prove me wrong.”

The centres cost the council £130,171 in 2013/14, of which £95,264 was spent on maintenance. Overall, there are 52 community centres in Peterborough, including ones not run by the council.

Cllr Lucia Serluca, cabinet member for city centre management, culture and tourism, said: “We found the majority of community centres are an integral part of the community.

“I would be looking to retain the majority of the community centres that would be sustainable.”

An eight-week consultation into community centres and libraries attracted 5,110 responses.

Committee chairman Cllr Nazim Khan expressed concerns that some of the centres, which rely on volunteers, could struggle to cope with repairs and maintenance costs.

Cllr Nick Sandford also indicated he expected community centres to shut.

Councillors agreed the council should create a business plan for the centres, to share ideas between them and to look for businesses to sponsor them in return for advertising.

Also at the meeting it was disclosed no decision had yet been made on closures of libraries and reduction of library staff.

Cllr Serluca said: “I’m looking at an option that will retain all libraries. All options are being looked at and will be presented to the cabinet.”

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