“Your voice matters” - councillors urge people to speak up for Wisbech Community House

Community House. Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams.

Community House. Wisbech. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

“Let your voice be heard” - that’s the message to Wisbech residents concerned about the threatened closure of Community House in Waterlees.

Ward councillors Mike and Virginia Bucknor fear the consultation process launched by Fenland District Council, who want to close the vital amenity as part of a raft of cash-saving measures, has been rigged and it is a “done deal”.

However, the Bucknors have launched a petition with the aim of forcing a full council debate on the issue and have re-drafted their version of an on-line questionnaire posted by Fenland Council in a bid to gauge the true strength of feeling.

Mrs Bucknor claims the council’s questionnaire is biased and fails to ask the right questions and is really aimed only at those who have used the services.

She pointed out Waterlees is the most deprived area in Cambridgeshire and is now in the top six per cent for child deprivation in the country.

“Things are getting worse, but instead of trying to help the situation Fenland Council has earmarked the Community House for closure and Cambridgeshire County Council has announced it will be withdrawing funding for the Adventure Play Area in the next two years. I really don’t think Fenland realises the extent of the services provided at Community House as they go way beyond what they have listed on their questionnaire.

“The services they provide are vital for the people of this area. The council has talked about transferring services to the Oasis Centre, but they don’t appear to have carried out proper consultation as I understand there isn’t the space at the Oasis Centre to accommodate the Community House services. There is just one full-time and two part-time staff who work 16 hours, but the range of knowledge they have is tremendous,” said Mrs Bucknor.

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Mr Bucknor agreed: “We are not so much fighting for the bricks and mortar, it is more about the services that are provided. They are far more complex than I think the council realises.”

The issue will be discussed at a forum meeting at the Oasis Centre on Thursday (October 16) at 7pm.

“We need to get at least 500 signatures to force a full council debate. I urge people to ‘let your voice be heard’, you matter and it is vital that you have your say,” added Mrs Bucknor.

Visit the Wisbech Have Your Say Community House Facebook page to sign the e-petition and the council’s questionnaire is on various Wisbech sites.

The petition is also in shops around the Waterlees area and on October 18 the Bucknors and other councillors will be collecting signatures on Wisbech Market Place from 10am.

A spokesman for Fenland Council refused to comment on claims the authority had failed to consult with the Oasis Centre on whether or not it could accommodate the Community House services.

He said: We have launched a consultation which is going on for 12 weeks and it would not be appropriate to comment any further until the consultation has concluded.”