Sham consultation on Ludlow’s Youth Centre

Everyone seems passionate about Ludlow’s Youth Centre except Conservative politicians.

Youth protester Laura Sheldon interviewed by ITV's Gareth Edwards
Youth protester Laura Sheldon interviewed by ITV’s Gareth Edwards

On 18 February, Ludlow’s MP Philip Dunne and Conservative councillor Gwilym Butler met with youth centre users. Despite ardent pleas from young people and disability groups, the politicians refused to concede that converting half the Youth Centre into offices is the wrong thing to do.

Butler was given a tough time by young and disabled users. He urged everyone present to make their views known through a consultation.

That’s a farce. Office workers are due move into the Youth Centre the day after the consultation ends on 31 March. Builders are already in the building converting youth space into offices. The decisions have already been made.

As far as Ludlow is concerned, the youth consultation is nothing other than a sham.

The reduced youth space is not fit for purpose. It will not be long before the Conservative administration decides young people and offices do not mix. The chances are the council will then sell the building. We should get the Youth Centre registered as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act. That will at least give us a right to raise money to buy the building that Ludlow spent 25 years trying to get built.

This article first appeared in Ludlow North Focus, February 2014.