Family run dance school forced to leave community centre as council announces plans for new library

A family-run dance school could be forced to leave it's home in Stotfold's community centre.

A family-run dance school could be forced to leave it's home in Stotfold's community centre after the council announced plans for the space to become a new library. - Credit: Courtesy of Nikki Gifford

A family-run dance school could be forced to leave its home in Stotfold's community centre after the council announced plans for the space to become a new library.

Gifford Dance Academy have regularly trained in Oak Hall within the Greenacre centre for over five years, but the council told them last year that the hall will become a new Central Bedfordshire Library. 

Nikki Gifford, marketing communications manager of Gifford Dance Academy, said: "It's really upsetting as we don't know where to go. For the whole community, it would be a massive loss and ever so upsetting."

Stotfold Town Council plan to sell the Simpson Centre on Hallworth Drive, where the current Stotfold library is located as the "current building is old has many ongoing maintenance issues" including "building, mechanical and electrical problems". 

In November, after local people heard of the plans, they started a petition for a public consultation and attracted nearly 800 signatures. 

The consultation opened on May 5 and community groups were offered other venues to hire if the plans are approved by Central Bedfordshire Council. 

But many of them lack availability and are not big enough for the dance school to practice their acrobatics and lifts. 

The group need high ceilings to safely practice their routines and enough space to imitate big stages for their performances at Disneyland Paris and Blackpool Opera House. 

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Nikki believes the council are focusing on the "bigger" library on social media and concealing the closure of Oak Hall in the fine print within the consultation. 

A spokesperson for Central Bedfordshire Council said: "We are consulting on the proposal to move the library to the Greenacre Centre. 

"The results of the consultation and an equality impact assessment will be published on our website, and the full range of views will be reflected in these reports.

"The findings will be carefully considered before a final decision is made."

The Comet reached out to Stotfold Council and has not received a response yet.

To have your say on the plans for a new library in Greenacre Centre and consequent closure, visit the website here.