Community facilities face the axe as budget cuts bite

Mossend Senior Citizen's Centre
Mossend Senior Citizen's Centre

A number of community facilities are to close with Culture NL blaming budget cuts.

In August Mossend Senior Citizens Centre and the Watson Street OAP Hut in Motherwell will shut along with Craigneuk and Newarthill libraries.

Other facilities facing the axe are Bargeddie Hall, Coshneuk Hall, Harthill Senior Citizens Centre, Springhill Community Centre, Whifflet Community Centre and the libraries in Petersburn and Old Monkland.

In addition the number of mobile libraries in operation will reduce from five to three as a decision has been taken not to renew leases on two vehicles when they expire this year.

North Lanarkshire Council, which is the landlord of the buildings concerned, will make recommendations on their future use, including community asset transfer.

Culture NL chief executive Jillian Ferrie said: “We have no option but to make these service reductions. We face cost pressures and a reduction in management fee from the council.

“That means we have to make savings and the board has taken the difficult choice of closing facilities that are not as well used as others by our communities.

“At the same time, however, we will be asking our customers what they want from their libraries and community facilities in the future and we will respond to that feedback.

“A consultation has begun with staff and trade unions. I am very hopeful we can avoid compulsory redundancies.

“The services we offer across our remaining libraries and community facilities will continue to be of the highest quality and we will be explaining to all our customers their options so that they can continue to access those services.”

Staff briefings are taking place this week, along with a four-week public consultation on future priorities for both libraries and community facilities which will start next week.

Service users can also take part in an online questionnaire and there will be a series of information sessions in a number of libraries and community facilities across North Lanarkshire.

CultureNL chairwoman Councillor Heather McVey said: “We realise that many of these facilities will be much-loved, however the reality is that they are little used.

“These are hugely difficult decisions but it’s important that we don’t take those decisions in isolation but that we ask our service users what kind of service they would like in the future.”