COUNCIL bosses have moved to allay fears about the future of a vital community resource in South Tyneside.
Fears have been growing locally that Chuter Ede Community Centre, on the Biddick Hall estate in South Shields could be closed.
Those fears arose after South Tyneside Council announced plans to move its education staff who are based there back into a revamped South Shields Town Hall.
The centre is also home to a host of sports and community groups and regularly stages community events
The education workers’ departure has raised concerns at the long-term future of the remaining organisations who use the centre.
Now a council spokesman has confirmed there are no “immediate plans” to close the community facilities at Chuter Ede, which is in Galsworthy Road.
That was not taken as a ringing endorsement for its long-term future by local councillor, Coun Tom Pigott.
Coun Tom Pigott, who represents Labour for Biddick Hall and All Saints, expressed his hope that the complex will be saved.
A council spokeswoman said: “We would like to reassure community groups that there are no immediate plans to close the community facilities at Chuter Ede.
“The council is currently working through a three-year programme to remodel services, and its accommodation, to ensure services are delivered in the most efficient and effective way possible, and are located where they are needed most.
“The strategy involves bringing council teams together in core buildings, such as the newly refurbished South Shields Town Hall, and as part of this, officers are being transferred from Chuter Ede where they have been temporarily placed while building improvements are carried out.”
Coun Pigott said: “We just have to trust that what we are being told is the truth, and I have no reason to doubt that. Chuter Ede is a vital resource for people who live in the area. If it wasn’t there they would have to pay £1.80 on the bus to get to the town centre to access alternative facilities. That’s a fair distance away.
“I hope that will not happen but we do know the council is under tremendous financial pressure. Tremendous pressure.”