Campaigners fight back as community centres face the axe

Nearly 140 swelled Bushmead Community Centre for a meeting on the potential closures
Nearly 140 swelled Bushmead Community Centre for a meeting on the potential closures

Campaigners have urged residents to mobilise against plans for the potential closure of five community centres.

Earlier this month the Luton News revealed that council-owned London Luton Airport Ltd is planning to cut its donations to Luton Culture by £1m and to Active Luton by £500,000 – putting the future of a number of community facilities in jeopardy.

Park Town Community Centre is one of the bases under threat

Park Town Community Centre is one of the bases under threat

In line for the chop is Dell Farm, as well as community centres in Bushmead, Limbury, Raynham Way, Park Town and at Futures House in Marsh Farm.

On Thursday night dozens aired their grievances at a meeting at Raynham Way Community Centre, a week after nearly 140 residents in Bushmead gathered to do exactly the same.

On the former meeting Iris Fletcher told the Luton News: “Most of us here are in our 80s and we enjoy meeting others of the same age and joining in with activites, keeping in touch with each other is what keeps us going.

“We don’t want to lose the community centre, we would sorely miss it.

“For our wellbeing it is important, they have closed several things around Wigmore and we are afraid it will get swallowed up.

“Wigmore Hall and the library got taken from the community and there is so little left now.”

Kathryn Knights, who helped set up the meeting in Bushmead, added her concerns over the future of community facilites in the town.

She said: “We all agreed that we are not going to be walked over and be subject to decisions the council made without transparency and thought about how (Bushmead Community Centre) could remain open.

“It was no surprise that people were asking about the pre-school and NHS physio wing that it hosts.

“How will they be picked up elsewhere?”

A consultation on the potential closures has been temporarily halted until an LBC meeting on March 30, after Lib Dem councillors Michael Dolling and Alan Skepelhorn decided to ‘call in’ the proposal.