Eye guides groups under threat as calls grow for library and community centre to be saved
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The leader of guiding groups in Eye has said more than 50 years of history is under threat after the Eye Library and Youth Centre was named in a list of sites which are potentially going to be sold by Peterborough City Council.
Sarah Masters, unit leader in the village, said if the centre is shut, there is currently no where else for groups to meet. Currently more than 100 youngsters attend Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers groups in Eye.
The centre is located in the Old School, a Historic building in Eye Conservation Area, and has Article 4 protection. It has been used as a Youth Centre and Library for 61 years following a new school being built in the 1960’s due to the growth in the village.
Politicians from Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats have all called for more discussions about the list of sites which have been threatened by the council.
A public meeting is being held in Eye on Friday to discuss the issue.
No other options in village
Ms Masters said: “It has been suggested that we could use the Manor Farm centre is the centre is closed.
"But we believe it is only available on Fridays, which would mean some of the volunteers who are leaders could not attend.
"There is also no safe, suitable, outdoor space, which is obviously important for guide groups, and the toilets are external to the main hall.”We have had a lot of concerned parents come to us about the situation, and some have offered to take the petition around the community to get it signed.”
A number of sites across Peterborough were listed as potentially being put up for sale last week by the council. Matley Community Centre in Orton Brimbles, Stafford Hall Community Centre in Ravensthorpe and Stanground Library were among the assets, as were Thorney Community Centre and Library, Eye Youth Centre and Library, the Showman's Guild and Thistle Drive Community Centre, the Herlington Centre and the Hodgson Centre.
‘I do not believe this to be the right decision’
Peterborough MP Paul Bristow has written a letter to the new leader of Peterborough City Council, Mohammed Farooq, asking him to save the centre.
In the letter, he said he had signed the petition to save the centre, and said: “I understand it is the decision of council officers to identify areas the council can save money, however these political decisions are ultimately down to councillors, cabinet members and yourself as leader of the council.
"I do not believe this (the potential to sell the Eye centre) to be the right decision and as the MP for Peterborough I will hold you and those who backed this decision to account.
"The Youth Centre and Library in Eye has been used by residents for generations, Eye is an expanding village and it’s services are already stretched. Children will now somehow have to travel elsewhere for similar facilities if this decision goes ahead.”
‘Administration needs to put immediate halt on changes’
Cllr Christian Hogg, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Peterborough, also called for a rethink, saying: “Cllr Farooq’s cabinet have only been in the job for a matter of days now, but they seriously need to get a grip on how the council conducts itself and more importantly how it engages with residents before it makes key decisions that could see our communities lose vital resources at a time when they are needed the most with many struggling to survive in an economy of high inflation where pay is failing to keep up.”
Andrew Pakes, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough, said: “The new administration needs to put an immediate halt on any changes in order for a proper investigation into how this sorry state of affairs was allowed to happen.
“I will continue to urge the new administration to work closely with residents, not to dispose of these facilities and to find other ways to make up for the budget shortfall they have inherited from Conservatives.”
‘No final decisions have been made’
A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council has previously been said that in some instances, potential buyers have already been identified, although in all cases no final decision has been made.
The spokesperson said: “As part of our ongoing review, we are starting conversations with those operators and groups which would be affected by potential asset sales. For each building concerned we will explain our plans for those sites and the alternatives we are proposing.
“In the case of Eye Youth Centre and Library, council officers will be meeting with operators, residents and city MP Paul Bristow this Friday to discuss options. Feedback from this and other meetings will be taken into account as part of our review.
“Whilst no final decisions have been made, we are fully aware of concerns from residents and are working to find solutions that are suitable for operators and residents alike, as well as meeting the council’s ongoing needs.”
Petitions are available to sign in Eye in Sharons Snack Shack, Sids Shop, All Hairdressers, Chip Shop, Community Centre (weekday mornings), Leeds Hall (inside Wed morning), Inside Youth/Library Building (You will need a Library Access Card) and in the Drive Entrance to the right of 25 High St.