Centres due to be saved

TWO community centres look set to be saved from the axe after being taken over.

West View and Jutland Road community centres were earmarked for closure under council cuts.

But now they are set to be taken over by local organisations.

West View Advice and Resource Centre and West View Project have lodged a joint bid to run the West View Community Centre, in Miers Avenue.

Meanwhile, the Owton Fens Community Association has submitted a business case to take over the running of Jutland Road Community Centre.

The transfer is due to be agreed by Hartlepool Borough Council’s senior cabinet committee today.

But Throston Community Centre, in Glamorgan Grove, is set to close and be put on the open market for sale or lease after it failed to attract any interest.

Throston Library will become the “community hub” once improvements to it are completed.

Council papers say the transfer will create savings in this year’s library and community resource budget.

A report by John Mennear, assistant director of community services, said: “Pressures on local authority finance have focused attention on the opportunity for the voluntary sector/community groups to deliver services in a more cost effective manner while at the same time developing active communities.

“West View Advice and Resource Centre and West View Project are working in partnership to submit an expression of interest for West View Community Centre in order to sustain and further develop what they see as an essential community resource.

“The organisations see this as an opportunity to develop a formal partnership to assist them in their long-term goals, to become less dependant on grants and develop their sustainability through income generation from the operation and management of an open and accessible community centre.”

The target date to complete the hand over is January 1.

The council is proposing not to consider Owton Manor and Burbank community centres for transfer at this time but says it may revisit the issue later.

Mr Mennear added: “The recommended acceptance of the two community asset transfer applications is based, not only on the business case submission but on the long-standing history of the two groups and their effectiveness within the community at large to date.

“It is satisfying to note that provided all goes well, then the community centres will not only remain in full use but have the potential to expand and develop significant community support programmes from property located in the heart of the individual communities.”

Senior councillors were due to meet today at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.