Call to help save Langley Park community centre

The Northern Echo: Isla Scott, six, and Emmerson Cooke, five, lead the protest Isla Scott, six, and Emmerson Cooke, five, lead the protest

LEADERS of a struggling community centre have called on fellow villagers to help them save the facility.

Wood View Community Centre, in Langley Park, near Durham, needs major repairs and a new boiler and is effectively closed.

But supporters say the facility is desperately needed, could be made a success once again and are calling on residents to rally round.

A short anti-closure protest, staged outside the community centre ahead of a Brownies meeting, attracted more than 50 parents and children waving placards.

Management committee secretary Alison Spenceley said: “Once the heating’s sorted, people will flood back, because it’s a lovely building.

“But we need the village behind us to help us.”

The facility, built as a school in 1910, has been a community centre since the 1980s. It has two meeting rooms and good kitchen facilities.

However, use has declined over several years as problems have developed, so it is now only used by the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, who only moved in last November.

Further, of late is has been effectively closed due to a leaking roof.

Durham County Council, which owns the building, has put the cost of repairs at £380,000 over five years.

Gordon Elliott, the council’s head of partnerships and community engagement, said it was keen to transfer community centres to local groups but it was unfair to expect such groups to run unsustainable facilities.

The council does not believe Wood View can continue as it is and has received no assurances the “substantial funding” needed for repairs can be met, he added.

Mr Elliott said the “good news” was there is an alternative facility nearby; and the council would work with Wood View to relocate its remaining groups or “help them to find alternative solutions”.

Nevertheless, Wood View supporters are keen to take over running the centre and have drawn up a business plan.

They say the village’s miners’ institute, which has recently undergone renovation, is too small for some uses.

Anyone interested in supporting Wood View Community Centre is asked to call Sylvia Buxton on 0191-373-1644.

Comments (3)

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3:57pm Tue 6 May 14

settheworldonfire says...

£380,000 for repairs?
Where the hell do they get those figures from?....
Pull it down and build a new 1 for less than £100,000....The council need to re-check the figures.......
OR HAVE THE COUNCIL PLANS TO SELL THE AREA IT IS ON FOR HOUSING? I BET THEY HAVE THAT IN MIND.....
£380,000 for repairs? Where the hell do they get those figures from?.... Pull it down and build a new 1 for less than £100,000....The council need to re-check the figures....... OR HAVE THE COUNCIL PLANS TO SELL THE AREA IT IS ON FOR HOUSING? I BET THEY HAVE THAT IN MIND..... settheworldonfire
  • Score: 4

5:32pm Tue 6 May 14

Got Ya says...

Why do they need 2 community centres in Langley Park anyway?
Why do they need 2 community centres in Langley Park anyway? Got Ya
  • Score: 0

4:46pm Thu 8 May 14

An Onlooker says...

Perhaps settheworldonfire is correct, plans to sell the site is a possibilty. Look what happned to the All Saints Youth Centre and yes I know it belonged to Lambton Estates but obviously money can be made for development sites. Langley Park needs a Community Centre big enough to cater for larger numbers than the Institute can. £180,000 was spent on its refurbishment and it is inadequate for the group numbers who could use it - somewhat shortsighted of the County Council. Did they ask villagers which site to refurbish? As landlords of Wood View the Council must bear some responsibilty for allowing the building to fall into disrepair. It has great possibilities as an amenity for an expanding village. Come on villagers and County Councillors do something to help.
Perhaps settheworldonfire is correct, plans to sell the site is a possibilty. Look what happned to the All Saints Youth Centre and yes I know it belonged to Lambton Estates but obviously money can be made for development sites. Langley Park needs a Community Centre big enough to cater for larger numbers than the Institute can. £180,000 was spent on its refurbishment and it is inadequate for the group numbers who could use it - somewhat shortsighted of the County Council. Did they ask villagers which site to refurbish? As landlords of Wood View the Council must bear some responsibilty for allowing the building to fall into disrepair. It has great possibilities as an amenity for an expanding village. Come on villagers and County Councillors do something to help. An Onlooker
  • Score: 3

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