Pensioners in call for community centre

PUBLISHED: 11:44 22 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:43 06 May 2010

The health centre would be a potential site for a community centre in Biggleswade

The health centre would be a potential site for a community centre in Biggleswade

PENSIONERS are leading a campaign to try and open a community centre. Members of the Biggleswade and District Pensioners Association have joined forces with the Old People s Action Group (OPAG) in an attempt to try and persuade Biggleswade Town Council t

PENSIONERS are leading a campaign to try and open a community centre.

Members of the Biggleswade and District Pensioners' Association have joined forces with the Old People's Action Group (OPAG) in an attempt to try and persuade Biggleswade Town Council to find a site for a community centre or allow the groups to refurbish the old health centre.

Members of both groups say they have no facilities in the town to go to enjoy social activities and that they have been forgotten by the town council and Mid Beds District Council.

Now pensioners have gained the support of their local MP Alistair Burt in their attempt to get a community centre in Biggleswade.

Ken Lynch, chairman of the association said: "We had a very good meeting with Mr Burt and he agrees with us that we need a community centre in Biggleswade for everyone to use, not just pensioners.

"We now want the local council and Mid Beds District Council to listen to us and do something positive about the problem.

"People must remember that Biggleswade is an expanding town and in a few years time there will be another 10,000 people living there so it is vital the town has a community centre.

"At the moment we have to use the hall at St Andrew's Church or the Labour Club for meetings. We need a proper community centre. The current health centre when it closes and moves to Saxon Gate would be ideal for us."

Mary Garton, 87, chairman of OPAG who lives in Banks Road, Potton, says the current health centre in Saffron Road should, when it has been closed, be donated or sold to groups or organisations in the town like the association or OPAG so it can be turned into a community centre.

"Surrounding villages have their village halls which are like community centres so surely a large town like Biggleswade should have one," said Mrs Garton.

"We are now appealing to the town council and Mid Beds District Council to support our campaign.

"We believe an ideal building would be the health centre which could be converted into a community centre after it has closed because finding a vacant site to build a centre would be virtually impossible in the middle of Biggleswade.

"What we are saying to the town council is not to sell the building to a developer. It would not be difficult to find the funding to buy it. What we want in Biggleswade is something like the community centre in the heart of Bedford where pensioners can go every day, have something to eat, have a cup of tea, enjoy being able to read a selection of books and enjoy other things like line dancing, a film club and feel part of a big community."

Mr Burt said after meeting the pensioners: "I had a very useful and productive meeting with those representing older people in Biggleswade.

"We discussed issues from the reorganisation of local authorities in Bedfordshire, the success of rescuing bus services, council tax and the new surgery in Biggleswade. I am very sympathetic to their efforts to establish a centre in the town. As Biggleswade grows there will be a greater need for a facility such as this."

A Biggleswade Town Council spokesman said: "Until we hear from the association and OPAG we cannot comment.


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