Labour’s councillors in South Gloucestershire have launched a petition to build community opposition to the Conservative council’s plans to close Kingswood Civic Centre, revealed last month. Labour says that the Tories view the building simply as an office block and fail to recognise the role it plays in providing local services, jobs and civic pride.
The plans were announced a fortnight ago, with a memo informing staff that the Conservative council was looking how to “accommodate more staff and facilities, including a council chamber, at Badminton Road”, the authority’s new but hard-to-access office block on the outskirts of Yate. This announcement has stunned staff and councillors, coming just 8 weeks after the Tories assumed control of the council, and following a £6 million refurbishment between 2010 and 2012.
The Labour councillors hope that the petition will enable local people to send a clear message to the Conservative leaders that the Civic Centre must be retained in Kingswood.
In a video announcement, the Leader of Labour’s councillors, Pat Rooney, says:
“Losing this building will be another sign that Kingswood is being downgraded under the Tories. We have already lost Soundwell College and the promise of a Minor Injury Unit at Cossham.
Together let’s send a message that Kingswood Civic Centre is too important to lose.”
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We the undersigned demand that South Gloucestershire Council scraps any proposal to close Kingswood Civic Centre.
We believe that closing Kingswood Civic Centre would:
• Make it more difficult for local people to access services such as the One Stop Shop and Register Office.
• Make it more difficult for residents to attend Council and Committee meetings that are taking decisions on their behalf.
• Remove jobs for local people from the area with the highest level of unemployment in South Gloucestershire.
• Increase commuting, congestion and traffic pollution.
• Demonstrate a waste of public money as £6 million was recently spent refurbishing the building.
• Reduce visits to Kingswood and trade in our town centre.
• Further demonstrate that Kingswood is no longer seen as important, following the loss of Soundwell College and the promise of a Minor Injury Unit at Cossham.
We demand that South Gloucestershire Council finds its savings from elsewhere.