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Scandal of community buildings unused 83% of the time

Council Should Encourage More Use of School Buildings say Liberal Democrat Councillors. “It is a scandal that these immensely valuable community assets are locked up and unused 83% of the time,” says Liberal Democrat councillor Lawrence Patterson.

Questioning Liberal Democrat councillors have uncovered the fact that far from looking for more use, the Labour Council is planning a reduction in out-of-hours use of school buildings in the next two years and has no plans to do anything to reverse that decline until at least 2010 and maybe not even then.

Dozens of local community groups use school buildings at subsidised lettings rates and the Council reimburses the individual schools for the costs of paying an employee to unlock the buildings and close them up again. The Council budget for this is £117,000 having been increased by more than 50% from £77,000 by the previous Liberal Democrat administration. The current Labour Council has decided to reduce the amount the Council spends by £8,000 in the current financial year and by £13,000 every year thereafter.

“Local taxpayers have made huge investments in these buildings, most would argue that there are nowhere near enough community facilities in their area and yet the Labour Council sees nothing wrong with schools being completely unused for 83% of the time”, said councillor Lawrence Patterson.

“Instead of looking for ways to bring more activities into out-of-hours school buildings they’ve decided to ration their use. Organisations will have to apply for registration and even those who are successful will then be told which building they can use even if it is not the one best suited for their activities or most convenient for their members.”

“All this in an attempt to make budget cuts, it makes no sense at all to me.”

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