CAMPAIGNING pensioners have voted to stay in their new home – despite a bitter battle with South Tyneside Council.
Elderly members fought hard to save Queens Road Day Centre, which was eventually demolished in July this year.
There was anger about the move, which came in the middle of a judicial review into the future of the centre in Saxon Way, Jarrow.
Battling OAPs collected a 7,000-signature protest petition and there were angry scenes in the council chamber at Jarrow Town Hall as pensioners and Labour councillors clashed over the closure plans.
But the council said it could no longer afford the centre’s £70,000 annual maintenance bill, plus £25,0000 of outstanding repairs, at a time of severe council cuts.
But after spending several months in Jarrow Community Centre, where many members were unhappy, pensioners have finally voted to stay put.
There was a vote of 49 to 3 to remain at Jarrow CC, where it is hoped adaptations will be made to give members their own space.
Joyce Miller, 81, secretary of 100-strong Queens Road Day Centre, who voted to remain at Jarrow CC, said: “It was going to be too expensive to hire somewhere else and most of the members felt they were too old to take it over.
“Many of the committee members are in their 70s and 80s, and it was all going to be too much.
“Eight members have left since the move, and some are still unhappy, but it is hoped the council is going to make special adaptations, to give us our own space.
“All this fighting has done us no good, but we have to now hope for the best.”
Coun Moira Smith, a member of the management committee at Jarrow CC, attended the vote this week, along with Coun Ken Stephenson.
She said: “The vote was 49 to 3, so there was overwhelming support for members of Queens Road Day Centre to remain at Jarrow CC.
“We are very happy the members have decided to stay and there are plans to make special arrangements for them at Jarrow CC.”