Community centre to stay open after change of heart

Judy Kerrigan is leading a campaign to help keep the community building, formerly The Winning Post, in Moorends from being sold by the council.
Judy Kerrigan is leading a campaign to help keep the community building, formerly The Winning Post, in Moorends from being sold by the council.
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A community centre is set to remain open after a change of heart from the town council which owns it.

Thorne-Moorends Town Council had planned to close the Winning Post – a former pub owned by the authority and run as a community centre.

But it has been confirmed that the centre will now stay open after a campaign by Moorends residents to keep it running.

Now officials at the town council have urged the people of Moorends to make greater use of the building to end losses it is running up.

Coun Martin Williams, the leader of Thorne-Moorends Council, said there had been a bitter campaign to keep the building open.

He said: “We had a meeting in the Assembly Room and cancelled the decision.

“If that is what the public wants, then we will go along with that, but it will have to be paid for.

“I hope Doncaster Council does the same with its community centres.

“If it is well used, if it gets booked up by the community, then this will have been the right decision.

“But I would urge the public to use it now. We can administer it, but it is for community groups to use it. We will see what happens.”

The town council had been in negotiations over the possible sale of the Winning Post .

Residents opposed to the sale told how they feared it would cease to be a community centre and may end up knocked down and used for housing. They applied for Asset of Community Value status to give them the chance to buy it as a community, and it was granted by Doncaster Council last month.

They also claimed it has not been widely advertised, and that it is worth more than the £32,000 for which they understood there is an offer on the table.

Resident Judy Kerrigan, who has set up the Save the Winning Post Facebook group, said 600 people wanted to keep the Winning Post.

The centre is used by groups including old people’s bingo and dancing sessions.

Council leader Coun Williams defended the original plans.

He said there were currently three buildings used as community centres in Moorends, with Northgate Community Centre and the Miners Welfare in addition to the Winning Post, in a town of 5,000 people.

He added the centre was losing £36,000 a year, and the council received no income from flats above the building because of a deal put in place by previous councillors which handed the flats over to a housing association.

When the plans were drawn up he said operating the building currently cost 10 per cent of the council’s budget each year.

He added money received from the building would have been spent on expanding and improving the Northgate Community Centre.