Combe Martin Community Centre groups ‘can stay on’

Joseph Bulmer

“Stay of execution” as council reconsiders its plans to close the centre

SENIOR Citizens, brownies and other Combe Martin groups facing eviction from the village Community Centre look set to stay for the time being after Devon County Council announced it was reconsidering its plans for the building.

The groups had been given two month’s notice after the council announced its intention to “dispose” of the historic building because it was no longer used for adult education courses and it could not continue to spend money on maintenance.

But on Thursday the council said it had reconsidered following representations made by Combe Martin County Councillor Andrea Davis, who had previously given a commitment to help groups find alternative accommodation.

Now, the council has confirmed to centre users that it will not be selling the building on the open market, but does still intend to relinquish ownership of it, although it is hoped the building will be kept for community use.

Cllr Davis has asked for local groups to be able to continue using the building beyond the end of July, the date originally set by the council and also plans to meet Combe Martin Parish Council soon to discuss the situation further.

“It is a building that has been used for a very long time by the community,” she explained.

“Our intention is not to end that, but to relinquish ownership of it. The council has not used it for a year and we can no longer afford to keep paying towards its upkeep.

“I have asked that the groups that use the centre have longer to stay while we look at our options of disposing of it.”