Lingdale’s youngsters must wait a little longer to see if their youth centre is to get a reprieve from Labour spending cuts. Redcar & Cleveland Council is proposing to close the Centre and put the Youth Club into alternative accommodation, possibly the village hall. However, a public consultation meeting about the Council’s proposal, planned to be held in the Centre in April, has now been put off till after the local elections. Councillor Steve Kay, who represents Lingdale and is campaigning for the Centre’s survival explained: “I understand that the meeting has been postponed because of its political sensitivity but the threat to close down the Youth Centre is still as real as ever. We are in a state of phoney war but the Council must realise that we are ready for a real fi ght to save this essential facility. “There is no alternative suitable accommodation in Lingdale and besides, the village hall is both unsuitable and unavailable. “Lingdale has been designated a disadvantaged village by the Council and now they are threatening to take the Youth Centre away. There is no logic in this, especially as it would cost only £6,000 a year to keep the Centre open. All the recent investment in the Centre would be wasted, including an £18,000 state-of-the-artkitchen.” It is expected that the Council will make a final decision following the proposed consultation meeting in the village.
“They had better change their minds or they will have the people of Lingdale to answer to. We shall never surrender the Youth Centre!” said Councillor Kay. Councillor Kay added: “Leader of the Council, George Dunning, has challenged me to suggest where the extra money can be found to keep the Centre open. I suggest a rigorous reassessment of the £100,000 plus salaries paid to top Council offi cials. Every little helps.” Leader of the Council, Councillor George Dunning said “Whilst this so called “purdah” period can seem to be more than an inconvenience to people, the postponement of public meetings which are deemed to be political is the correct decision. In relation to the Lingdale Youth Centre, whilst this means a delayed decision at least the Youth Centre remains open. However although it is the election period I am still talking to people who are interested in running our youth centres.
llr Dunning went on to say “On Councillor Steve Kay’s savings on top council offi cer salary pay reduction. It was Cllr. Kay’s Coalition from 2003-2007 that hiked up several director’s salaries to over £100’000’s and the then top offi cer’s salary from £83,000’s to £155,000’s to keep them here in Redcar & Cleveland. A legacy inherited by Labour on returning to offi ce in 2007. The reason why Cllr Kay’s suggestion is so ludicrously hypocritical is because top offi cers like other council workers have rights and belong to Trade Unions and they would fi ght to preserve their terms and conditions and no doubt take us to Employment Tribunals and win. “Cllr Kay’s Coalition left offi ce in 2007 leaving Labour a multi million pound tribunal bill to pick up as a result of their industrial relations failures. “We should all remember their failings whilst they were in office.”