RESIDENTS already reeling from the effects of council cuts are facing a fresh blow with the potential loss of dozens of community centres described as “a lifeline” for many people.

Durham County Council has carried out a review of community centres, halls and rooms and proposes that some will have to shut.

The conclusion will come as a new shock to communities across the county, some of which are already struggling to come to terms with the loss of council-run care homes and leisure centres.

The Labour-run council is trying to reduce its budgets by £125m in the next four years.

As part of the cost-cutting measures, leisure facilities at Sherburn, Crook and Ferryhill will close in October unless acceptable bids are submitted from outside organisations wanting to run them.

The leaked review of community facilities says that the closure of 12 communal halls will be considered and a further 15 that have already closed will shut permanently.

A further 43 community centres will get no council investment unless extra money becomes available.

They could be transferred to their management committee or community association, which would then be responsible for seeking funding and paying for repairs and maintenance.

A report to councillors by council assistant chief executive Lorraine O’Donnell says that where a transfer and funding bid cannot be done, the buildings “would move into the close category’’.

Thirty-eight buildings in deprived areas, or where there are no alternative facilities, will continue to be funded and a further 18 are already leased by the council to their management.

The report says the council would have to spend millions of pounds on repairs and maintenance if it tried to do everything that was needed.

But under the proposals being considered, more than £2m would still be available for investment in some buildings.

The report will be presented to councillors on Tuesday and public consultation is due to start next month, with a decision due in February.

Hunwick Community Centre, near Willington, is one of the facilities that would have to fend for itself if the proposals are implemented.

Kelly Smith, who helps run it and who last year launched a successful youth club, said: “Hunwick is a very well-used community centre and it is imperative it remains open for the villagers to use.

“It is a lifeline to many people and we will have to look into what this report means for our future.”

The Elite Hall, in Crook, where the leisure centre is set to close, has been shut since 2004 and its permanent closure would be confirmed, dashing hopes that it would be reopened as an arts centre.

Independent county councillor for Crook South Eddie Murphy said the now-defunct Wear Valley District Council had earmarked £500,000 for its renovation.

He said: “The money was there – it was just waiting for somebody to take it on. We were told it would be ringfenced when the district council merged into the county.

“I just don’t see what we will have left. Crook is dying bit by bit and the decisions being made will kill it off altogether. What’s next for Crook?”

Romey Chaffer, of Bearpark Artists Co-operative, which has been based in Bearpark Community Centre, near Durham City, for 18 years, said the facility was important for the village.

Ms Chaffer said: “If the centre closed it would be a big loss to the people who use it and the volunteers who work hard to run it.

“It would be the end of the co-operative. We don’t generate anywhere near the income we would need to pay for the space we need on a commercial basis.’’ Liberal Democrat councillor for Framwellgate Moor in Durham City Mark Wilkes said he feared some centres could close because their management could not secure funding.

He said: “The council wants to transfer the facilities to the organisations that run them.

They are trying to off-load them.

“There will be some that don’t have the resources or the volunteers to take the halls on and they will close.’’ Lorraine O’Donnell, the council’s assistant chief executive, said last night: “Despite the extremely challenging savings the council faces, we have set aside £2m from our capital budget to spend on community buildings across County Durham.

“In the autumn, we will be asking residents to help us decide how that money should best be spent, following a detailed review of community buildings which is nearing completion.

“It’s important to say that no decisions have been made.

“We understand completely how valued many of these resources are by local residents and it is in recognition of that fact, and the excellent work done by so many community volunteers, that we have set aside this sum.

“The review is also exploring other options, including the potential of transferring some buildings in to the hands of community groups which can demonstrate their ability to operate them and, of course, with restrictions addressing their resale.

“We will be discussing all options with members next week before seeking cabinet agreement in September to start extensive public consultation.

“No decision on the future of community buildings will be made until February 2012.”

How every community building in County Durham is affected.

LIST A (to be retained and receive investment).

1. Parkside Community Centre, Seaham; 2. Henknowle Community Centre, Bishop Auckland; 3. Grey Gardens, Coundon; 4. Stanley Community Centre; 5. Pride House, Eden Hill, Peterlee; 6. Sunnybrow Community Centre, Crook; 7. Horden Youth and Community Centre; 8. Shotton Community Centre, Shotton Colliery; 9. Rosedale Community Centre, Willington; 10 Grasmere Grove, Crook; 11. Coundon and Leeholme Community Centre; 12. Selby Close, West Auckland; 13 Fulforth Centre, Sacriston; 14 Tanfield Lea Community Centre; 15. Brandon Community Centre; 16. Annfield Plain Community Centre; 17. Stanhope Town Hall; 18. Langley Park Community Centre; 19. Middleton-in-Teesdale Village Hall; 20. Newton Hall Community Centre, Pity Me; 21. Citizens House, Consett; 22. Shildon Centre; 23. Trimdon Grange Community Centre; 24. Brockwell Centre, Pelton Fell; 25. Quarrington Hill Community Centre; 26. Trimdon Station Community Centre; 27. Newcastle Bank Community Centre, Chester-le-Street; 28. Great Aycliffe Village Hall; 29 Pelton Community Centre; 30. Blackhill Community Centre; 31. Fishburn Youth and Community Centre; 32. West Cornforth and District Community Centre; 33. Ludworth Village Hall; 34. Seaton Community Centre, Seaham; 35. Broomside Lane, Belmont; 36. Harry Carr House, Meadowfield; 37. Thornley Community Centre; 38. Chester Moor Hut.

LIST B (no investment unless extra resources become available, in priority order.

1. Howden-le-Wear Community Centre; 2. Fairclough Court, Peterlee; 3. Hunwick Community Centre; 4. Fencehouses and District Community Centre; 5. Heselden Community Centre; 6. Framwellgate Community Centre; 7. Bearpark Community Centre; 8. Morley Crescent, Kelloe; 9. Shotley Bridge Village Hall; 10. Plawsworth and Kimblesworth Memorial Hall; 11. Holmside, Bowburn; 12. Earl House Community Centre, Seaham; 13. Pittington Village Hall; 14. Burnopfield Community Centre; 15. Hawthorn Community Centre, Seaham; 16. Bankfoot Grove, Crook; 17. Witton-le-Wear Community Centre; 18. Sherburn Hill Community Centre; 19. Jubilee Close, Edmondsley; 20. Toronto Community Centre; 21. Charlton House, Wingate; 22. Arden House, West Rainton; 23. Beaurepaire Community Centre, Bearpark; 24. Woodbine House, Pity Me; 25. Woodland Hall, Esh Winning; 26. McCrae House, Murton; 27. Resource and Social Centre, Seaham; 28. Burnside Resource Centre, Stanley; 29. Lansdown Road, Coxhoe; 30. Wheatley House, Wheatley Hill; 31. Holme Dene, Hunwick; 32. Cunningham Place, Gilesgate; 33. Fyndoune House, Witton Gilbert; 34. Hargill Haven, Howden-le-Wear; 35. Stainton Grove Community Centre, near Barnard Castle; 36. Stanley Way, Crook; 37. Lawson Road, Bowburn; 38. Browns Close, Coxhoe; 39. Southbrook House, Pittington; 40. MacNally Place, Gilesgate; 41. Murton Community Centre; 42. Monteith Close, West Auckland; 43. Cedarwood, Fencehouses.

LIST C(no investment and take immediate action to close or transfer).

1. Byron House, Seaham; 2. Mickle Grove, Leeholme; 3. Sycamore Park, Brandon; 4. Cornwall Place, Henknowle; 5. Silver Courts, Brandon; 6. Sanders Memorial Home, Chester-le-Street; 7. Alcote House, Shotton Colliery; 8. Fell Rose Court, Pelton Fell; 9. Parkside People’s Centre, Seaham; 10. Roseby Road, Peterlee; 11. Gairloch Drive Communal Room, Pelton; 12. Hawthorns, Malcolm Ave, Quarrington Hill.

LIST D (confirm closure of already closed buildings).

1. Wheatbottom, Crook; 2. Hall Lane Estate, Willington; 3. Bede Terrace, Bowburn; 4. Bedburn Close, Durham; 5. Collier House, Sunnybrow; 6. Crookgate Communal Room, Burnopfield; 7. Front Street Communal Room, Dipton; 8. Dorset Place, Henknowle; 9. Elite Hall, Crook; 10. Hambledon Hut, Chester-le- Street; 11. Millfield, Crook; 12. Shakespeare Centre, Seaham; 13. Sycamore Grove, West Auckland; 14. Wood Street, Chester-le-Street; 15. Woodland House, Kelloe (already transferred to PCT).

LIST E(centres already been leased to external organisations).

1. Activity Den, Tanfield Lea; 2. Attlee Square Communal Room, Sherburn Village; 3. Bridgehill Communal Room, Consett; 4. Bullion Hall, Chester-le-Street; 5. Clavering Youth Club, Stanley; 6. Communal Room, Annfield Plain; 7. Communal Room, Shield Row, Stanley; 8. Croxdale Community Centre and Hall, Durham; 9. Dene Court, Hamsterley; 10. Escomb Community Centre; 11. Gully House, Wingate; 12. Leadgate Community Centre, Consett; 13.The Hut, Burnopfield; 14. Trimdon Village Hall; 15. Wingate and District Community Centre; 16. Great Lumley; 17. South Moor Communal Rooms; 18. Wheatley Hill (Greenhills Community Centre).