Ludlow Town Council urged to protect Ludlow Youth Centre on Monday (updated)

Update 16 March 2015

I am very pleased to report that Ludlow Town Council decided tonight to apply to register our Youth Centre as an asset of community value. It also decided to make an expression of interest in a potential community asset transfer. Neither of these moves commits the council to any action but it opens up options should Shropshire Council want to sell the Youth Centre or transfer it to another body.

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Ludlow’s unitary councillors are urging Ludlow Town Council to back a recommendation that Ludlow Youth Centre is registered as an asset of community value at its meeting on Monday. Tracey Huffer, Andy Boddington, Richard Huffer and Viv Parry are also asking the town council to register an interest in taking over the building should the need arise.

Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East and chair of Ludlow Youth Partnership explains:

“There have been big cuts to the youth services budget this year. Shropshire Council has said that it has no plans to sell the Youth Centre or to charge the Youth Partnership for using it. But that is this year. There are still steep cuts to be made to Shropshire Council’s budget in future years. We need to be prepared for the council changing its mind.”

“If the Youth Centre is registered as an asset of community value, the town will have six months to raise money to buy it should the building be put up for sale. ACV status doesn’t commit the town council or anyone else to bid to buy the building, but at least it will give us the opportunity.”

“Another option the town council will consider on Monday is express an interest in a community asset transfer. Under this scheme the town council could take on a lease for the Youth Centre lasting up to 25 years. Again, expressing interest does not at this stage commit the town council to any future action. It just opens up the option should it be needed.”

“Shropshire Council has already said it regards the youth centres at Bridgnorth, Market Drayton, Monkmoor, Pontesbury and Sundorne as suitable for community asset transfer. We should consider adding Ludlow to that list.”

“Our Youth Centre was funded by European and local money to help the young people of Ludlow. It is vital to helping youngsters get a good start in life. The youth work at the centre pays dividends by dealing with problems and giving young people confidence, especially when they have had a challenging start to life.

“It is vital that we keep the Youth Centre and if that means taking it over from Shropshire Council, that is what we will have to do.”