OAPs’ shock as ex-centre faces being bulldozed

D-DAY ... Queen's Road Day Centre is earmarked for demolition.
D-DAY ... Queen's Road Day Centre is earmarked for demolition.

BATTLING pensioners who lost a fight to stay at a popular day centre are facing new heartache – the complex is now set to be bulldozed.

Elderly folk had to quit Queen’s Road Day Centre in Saxon Way, Jarrow, last month and move into Jarrow Community Centre.

The relocation came despite a long, and sometimes bitter, campaign to save the drop-in facility.

Pensioners had collected more than 7,000 names on a protest petition and lobbied meetings, before councillors decided to back closure.

Now it has emerged that the Queen’s Road complex is to be flattened – ruling out any hopes of a return there by the old folk.

A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Council said: “We can confirm that we are putting in place plans to demolish the building, after which the site will be grassed over.”

Today, Coun Steve Harrison, who represents UKIP for Fellgate and Hedworth, has condemned the move.

He attended a emergency meeting of the day centre committee yesterday to decide the way forward.

And Coun Harrison revealed the committee could yet attempt to use an element of the Government’s Localism Act in a last-ditch bid to return to Queen’s Road.

He said: “The day centre members are completely demoralised.

“They have 130 members and five have left already in the few short weeks they have been at Jarrow Community Centre.

“They haven’t been able to set up a tuck shop yet, from which they can raise funds for day trips, and health and safety rules means they can’t bring in the cheap lunchtime meals that they accessed when at Queen’s Road. Now to learn of plans to demolish the day centre is the last straw. We’re not giving up hope yet, though.

“Queen’s Road still has £30,000 in its accounts. I’ve discovered an element of the Localism Act known as ‘community asset transfer’.

“There are even grants available to retain buildings that are deemed an asset to the community.

“We need to act fast because once the utility companies has been contacted to switch off the supplies, Queen’s Road will be demolished.”