Monday, February 15, 2010

So No Pre-school for ECC!

As trailed in a previous article, the Town Council has finally admitted it hasn't found a tenant for the specially built pre-school area of the new ECC. This wonderful area was always part of the Town Council plan. The reasons why this was part of the plans have been very hazy.

How local councils can work is someone thinks this is a good idea. Councillors run with it and push the idea through committees without any real business plan for the project. This is how the Town Council ends up in this mess.

Remember the Town Council told the public back in 2008 that:

We have had a lot of interest from local organisations and community groups keen to use the centre and we have no doubt that we will be able to fill it. It is much-needed and it will be a well used multi purpose community centre.”

So just 5 groups (probably including the The River Church) have come forward to use the centre. Not filled then.

Of course the current economic problems are used as an excuse as to why the centre is failing. This is wrong. The problems are basic. The ECC is too big and in the wrong place. Instead of building to a design, the Town Council should have taken account of the area and built something far smaller. These Grand Designs will cost the St. Neots Council Taxpayer dear as we have to subsidise this facility.

In this weeks Hunts Post Cllr Barry Chapman goes on the offensive. The articles says:

"However, town councillor Barry Chapman branded the building “an absolute white elephant” and said it was too large for what was needed. “We could have built something a quarter of the size, like the Jubilee Hall, and it would have been adequate. It was madness to build something so big when there is a desperate need for facilities in Eynesbury and Loves Farm."

I agree with Councillor Chapman this is a white elephant. A building far too big for what is needed. Where I disagree with Cllr Chapman is the desperate need for facilities elsewhere. There isn't. There is no evidence of need. This is just the politics of envy. 

The blame for this problem needs to be shared. An example is Cllr Ursell who said:

“This much needed community centre will be a tremendous asset for the residents of the Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon communities who will undoubtedly make full use of its facilities.”

Lastly, the eternal optimist Cllr Derek Giles wades into this by saying:

"it was still “early days”. "It is a great community facility and I am confident that the pre-school will be used once the word has got round."

Cllr Giles is always optimistic. Word about the pre-school has already got round with the Town Council having put the whole thing out to tender to local pre-schools. The Acting Town Clerk says 200 letters had been sent to potential interested parties. No takers. Well not at that rent. If we believed Cllr Giles the outdoor swimming pool would already be opened. The cinema would already be built. As with the Town Council 2008/09 budget Cllr Giles gambles at the casino with public services. Sometimes he wins. Mainly he loses. Cllr Giles continues with his losing streak

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