Labour has responded to the news that South Gloucestershire’s ruling Conservatives are looking to close Kingswood Civic Centre by pointing to its warnings about the building’s future back in 2011.
The Council has two main offices, the Kingswood Civic Centre and staff offices at Badminton Road in Nibley near Yate. The Kingswood office is the main public interface, hosting all of the Council’s decision-making public meetings as well as a One-Stop-Shop and a police hub.
Back in 2011 Labour councillors raised their concerns that the Civic Centre was being downgraded, and this was vehemently denied at the time by the Conservatives, who described it as “a flagship building”. Now, just two months after taking overall control of the Council, the Conservatives have specifically asked for a review of whether the Council needs to retain the office.
Labour’s Leader in South Gloucestershire, Councillor Pat Rooney, who represents the Woodstock ward in Kingswood says:
“Four years ago we raised our concern that the Conservatives were not committed to maintaining a Council presence at Kingswood and these claims were rubbished. It is now clear that we were right all along to have this concern.
The Kingswood building is not only important for public access but also convenient for many of its staff who live locally. Kings Chase ward has higher than average unemployment and closing down a major centre of employment in the ward is a terrible idea.
The Council spent £6 million refurbishing the Civic Centre before re-opening it in 2012, and residents will rightly conclude that the Tory-run Council is incompetent in managing its finances if it pursues the closure of the building, which Labour will oppose every step of the way.”