Fears have been raised over the future of Elmbridge’s largest community centre after a county council structural report suggested that significant work was required to meet health and safety standards.
The current lease is due to expire in January 2019 and there were concerns that it would be too difficult to renew.
A meeting was arranged by Elmbridge Liberal Democrat councillors between current committee members, user groups and local residents, who have expressed a determination to renew the lease and ensure the building remains open. They have won full backing of local ward councillors.
Lib Dem county councillor, Jeremy Hilton, has agreed to support a grant of £20,000 to the centre, from the Growing Communities Fund, which is reserved to his county council division of Kingsholm & Wotton that includes three polling districts in Elmbridge ward.
This should cover emergency work and it is hoped that additional funds will be found from reserves, fundraising and work by volunteers.
Jeremy Hilton said: “This is an important community asset with real character and is well used by many clubs and societies. It is vital that we do whatever we can to ensure it remains open. I’m very confident that we can help the community save the centre and help them get funding to secure its long term future.”
Lib Dem city councillors Emily Ryall and Howard Hyman are committed to keeping the building open. They stated: “We have been working hard with residents to give them the support they need to renew the lease. There is real determination to save this valuable building and preserve its historic character.”