The decision to snatch the Hutton Community Centre out from under local residents and organisations has been met with anger and dismay.
The ruling Lab/Lib coalition decided on Wednesday evening to carry out final negotiations for the lease with a third party organisation, based in Chelmsford, ignoring the efforts and wishes of local people.
The Centre, on the Wash Road playing fields in Hutton North has undergone £165k worth of investment by the Council with the aim of providing a useable building for the local community to then run.
Hutton North ward councillor, Louise McKinlay said, “In my ten years as a councillor for the area, never have I seen such a politically motivated decision as this one. Local people have made it clear that they want a community centre for local people, run by local people. This is what has been delivered over the last few months under the “Building a Better Hutton” group and the Centre is going from strength to strength, with both regular and temporary bookings. To pull the rug out from under them now is a disgrace and an appalling decision for the area.”
Interested parties were invited to make a presentation to the Council but before the debate even started, Councillor Aspinell proposed that only the Chelmsford based organisation be taken forward for negotiations.
Louise added, “I have been inundated since the meeting with comments from very angry residents who are all questioning the Administration’s motivation. Many attended the meeting and were disgusted not only at the decision and behaviour of the ruling groups but with the contempt the Leader and ruling parties clearly showed for the wishes of local people.”
Hutton Conservatives have vowed to fight to the end and will not accept the decision lying down. The matter has been referred for a “call in” in order to examine the decision-making process and the information presented. For further details, please get in touch.