It is hard not to wonder if the fate suffered by the West Park Centre will become an increasingly familiar one for such facilities in the years ahead.
Moves to save the centre, once a hub of community activity, appear to have failed with councillors now being asked to approve plans to demolish the building so that the site can be sold off.
“Cost-effectiveness” is being cited as the overriding reason behind the abandonment of proposals to refurbish and reopen the building, which closed in November last year. While that decision has angered the centre’s many supporters, there is no question that councils face an almost impossible situation in the wake of swingeing cuts to their budgets.
Where community buildings are in need of urgent and expensive repairs in order to stay open there must be serious doubt as to whether the necessary funds can be spared. That is not to say that local authorities should not make every effort to find the money that is required to keep these important facilities going, but given the pressures on already stretched resources there will surely be a tipping point where it is not deemed to be “cost-effective” to do so.
That has proved to be the case in this instance, though it is welcome that £800,000 from its sale will be put toward a new or existing building. The question, however, is how many other such facilities will suffer a similar fate?
Cash means Beth’s legacy will help others
The tragic death of Bethany Jones touched hearts all over the country.
And now that outpouring of grief has translated itself into donations totalling £20,000 for the fund that was set up in her name.
The 19-year-old died when the minibus she was travelling in on the way to a hen party crashed on the M62. The Beth’s Angels fund launched by her cousin will now help the injured women and their families and also support Air Ambulance charities.
As a trainee nurse, Beth made it her life’s goal to help others. Now she is doing just that in the form of this most fitting of legacies.