Threat to three new community halls in Stoke-on-Trent City Council budget cuts
TWO more community centres and a community hall are under threat of closure as a cash-strapped council tries to save money.
Fenton and Goldenhill community centres and Clowes Hall in Bentilee have all been told they may face closure if council bosses find they are not making enough money.
The news comes after a dozen centres across Stoke-on-Trent have already been threatened with closure as part of budget cuts.
The three halls, which are run directly by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, are now in a consultation period as bosses check to see if they are profitable.
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But community leaders in Fenton have hit out at the plans, claiming they are living in a 'forgotten town'.
Glenn Parkes, chairman of the community association for Fenton, said: "The centre is considered vital for the community and I understand that it is well used by the people of Fenton.
"The closure of the centre would be another blow to the town which is already suffering from the loss of the magistrates' court and the imminent closure of the day centre."
The consultation was announced by Peter Price, the council's resident director of services, at a public meeting.
He said: "We want to make sure these halls are financially sustainable for the future.
"In times of financial hardship, and the funding that we have got as a city council, we have to go through some very difficult decisions.
"Some of the community centres around the city are likely to close – at least in the short term.
"Others are relying on a community group to come forward and manage them."
However, Mr Price added: "Fenton and Goldenhill are not normal cases because they are directly run by the city council."
Clowes Hall, based at Bentilee Community Centre is also a special case according to council documents.
Alan Joinson, aged 64, from Chelmsford Drive, Bentilee, uses the community centre for residents' association meetings.
The chairman of the group said: "To be truthful I think they were asking for too much money to hire the hall out and no-one could afford it.
"I hope if it comes down to it the community would put an application in to take it over because it is a very vital service for the area." Mr Price announced that in the coming months he and councillor Ruth Rosenau will need to look at the profit and loss accounts before making a decision on the centres.
The consultation period is believed to take several months and will leave the council with two options.
They will either continue to run the centres as council venues or they will seek a group to take over the running of the centre through a community transfer asset.
Mr Parkes, aged 55, from Temple Street, Fenton added: "These are places that people need."