Cllr Jon Hubbard

Wiltshire Councillor for Melksham South

Serving the community across Melksham

Melksham residents have reacted with shock and anger at news that Wiltshire Council is spending over £11,000 a year to keep the old Canberra Youth Development Centre closed, and that it cannot currently be sold because of a legal covenant on the building saying it has to be used for youth work!

Cllr Jon Hubbard outside the now closed Canberra Youth Development Centre

Local councillor Jon Hubbard says he was left speechless with shock at the news, exposed after he asked probing questions of the Conservative administration in a recent council meeting.

The Youth Centre was closed last July, with local residents being told that it was necessary to sell the building off to help pay for the new Community Campus being developed at Melksham House. However the building has remained empty and unused, and the Conservative run council has now finally admitted that they cannot sell it because of a covenant on the building.

Jon Hubbard commented, "It is a disgrace that the council have never disclosed this fact previously. It's unacceptable that the council is now paying to rent alternative premises to run a youth club one evening a week when we have an unused building that is costing a significant amount of money to keep empty."

Services no longer taking place following closure of Canberra Youth Development CentreMelksham MP Duncan Hames said "Conservative-run Wiltshire Council should never have closed youth centres before alternative premises were available. Now everyone is paying for Tory councillors' attempt to cut and run."

Cllr Jon Hubbard has now submitted a Freedom of Information rquest to Wiltshire Council to try and finally get the full details about the building and it's future. The request reads:

Following the disclosures in last Tuesday's council meeting I am writing today to make a formal Freedom of Information request with regard to the Canberra Youth Centre in Melksham.

I would like to be provided with copies of all correspondence and transcripts or minutes of all verbal meetings where the Covenant on the centre was discussed or mentioned since 2010, or when the option of closing Canberra to help fund the new Campus was first proposed, whichever is sooner.

I would also like copies of any reports where the Covenant was considered under risk analysis and as a possible cost of closure. I would also request a full breakdown of costs including Utility bills of keeping the Canberra youth Centre in its current state. I note for instance that the breakdown provided at Council last week did not include any utility bills, yet when I passed the centre last night the lights in the building were on.

I would also like a full details of the covenant and details of any legal fees paid in consultation on this matter and predicted legal costs (including any internal costs for officer time) of investigating and then removing the Covenant on this building.

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Jon-Hubbard-Signature
Cllr Jon Hubbard 

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