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Councillors discuss Glamis Hall decision again

Published Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wellingborough councillors will look again next week at the decision to close a day care centre in the town. A report outlining a range of options for the future of Glamis Hall will be considered at a meeting of the resources committee on Tuesday evening (16 September).

The detailed report advises committee members that they can consider whether to set aside the original June decision before agreeing on preferred options for the future of the building and the services provided there.

These include continuing the day care service in the building; providing a scaled-down service in another council building; transferring the building and facilities to a charity or community organisation; selling the building; or building a new centre to be run by the council or a partner organisation. The option to close the building and stop the day care service will also be considered.

The options agreed by the resources committee would then be recommended to the full council to make a final decision in October.

Council leader Cllr Paul Bell said: "We have an excellent report to consider, covering all possible detail and every possible option. We have information about the current clients and what they want from the service; information on the state and costs of the building; the financial commitment of running the service; what other services are out there for older people in the borough; and an independent assessment of the service. We have options around working with partners, transferring the building, keeping it going, refurbishing it, and building from scratch.

"We have a lot to consider and discuss. The reasons for closing the service – that the building is not fit for purpose and the financial commitment needed to continue a discretionary service – are still valid. What we have now, and what we always said we would have at this September meeting, is more information and more detail.

"Members of the resources committee will weigh up all of this before recommending options to council. We may recommend more than one of the options, or a combination of options, or even propose new options.

"Since the original decision was made in June, other possibilities have come forward and we have gathered even more information, so now we have the chance to look again at the choices based on everything we’ve heard and learned."

The decision to close the building and the day care service was made back in June, but councillors agreed to reconsider at a meeting of the council on 2 September when campaigners presented a 10,000 signature petition opposing the closure.

The service costs more than £250,000 a year to run, and currently has around 155 people using it. The hall is also used by organisations with regular bookings, including sports clubs and churches. The cost of refurbishing the building could cost between £150,000 to more than £350,000, and result in about three months of temporary closure, depending on the level of works carried out.

The resources committee meeting on 16 September is open to the public. The council has been notified that the Save Glamis Hall For All Committee, a group of campaigners opposed to the closure, have begun the process of judicial review. Because of that, the council has sought legal advice and councillors may need to be made aware of that advice when making their decision about the future of Glamis Hall and its services. Any advice will have legal professional privilege and disclosing it would prejudice any subsequent court proceedings. The advice will therefore be given in private, meaning the press and public could be excluded from that part of the meeting.

The decision made by the resources committee will be made in public.