South Shields MP expresses her ‘surprise’ over the closure of Chuter Ede Community Centre
The Member of Parliament for South Shields posted a statement on her Twitter account after she was unable to attend a public meeting that was held following the announcement that the centre, on Galsworthy Road in Biddick Hall, will close later this year.
Groups that use the centre were told earlier this month (March) that it will close for good later this year due to financial reasons.
South Tyneside Council has said it is working with community groups to ensure they are supported in finding a new location ahead of the centre closing at the end of the summer holidays.
In her statement, Emma Lewell-Buck has confirmed that residents will only be temporarily moved from the site and can return once a new community space is constructed.
The MP said: “I was as equally surprised by the news of the closure of Chuter Ede Community Centre as many of the groups using the space.
"As soon as I was made aware, I held an immediate emergency discussion with the Council who advised me that the closure is part of a long-term plan to enable the site to be used for Extra Care provision, which will include a new community building as part of the development.
"I have also been advised that the new community building will be used for groups who currently use the centre.
"In the meantime, the Council has also committed to ensuring the centre stays open until September and groups will be assisted in finding temporary spaces while work is ongoing.
"It is deeply regrettable they didn’t share this information with all groups and residents at the outset.
"Constituents can be assured that I will always work as hard as I can to help the area retain vital community services and that I am equally disappointed at the lack of communication to the groups and residents.”
An online petition has been signed more than 1,900 times in an effort to save Chuter Ede Communtiy Centre from closure.