Working group to decide future of centre

A working group has been set up to look at what the future holds for the 22 groups that use Newton Stewart Community Centre after plans to either sell or mothball the council-owned facility became public earlier this year.

Last month the council agreed in its budget for the upcoming financial year to look at reducing the number of council-run facilities in an effort to save £1 million over three years. One idea was to move the 22 groups who use the community centre on a weekly basis to other council-owned properties in Newton Stewart.

The working group will consist of representatives of the users, members of the community centre management committee and councillors.

After the meeting, Wendy Scott from the management committee said: “We have been told by the council that anything done in future needs to be ‘transparent, inclusive and robust’. Our position is that moving to the McMillan Hall is not an option as the building is not fit for purpose.

“And to get it updated would outweigh any savings the council would make by closing the community centre.

“The best way forward would to make better use of it. The rooms upstairs could be better utilised by the council.

“We wanted to make our feelings known that we were not going to sit back and let the council do what it wants with the community centre. We will fight to keep it open.”

Mid-Galloway Councillor Graham Nicol said: “As a council we have to rationalise the number of properties we are responsible for and there are a number of options with all properties.”