Concern for future of hall

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The decision by North Ayrshire Council to press ahead with a Community Asset Transfer for Brodick Hall is a worrying one indeed.

Not least because no one has expressed any interest in taking it over.

At the full committee meeting of the council, held virtually this week, it was at least accepted that there was a ‘complex scenario’ of discussions needed on how best to use the facilities were have in Brodick in the future.

The hall currently houses the library, Brodick early years and a wide range of community events. The nursery needs more space and that is largely accepted by everyone, but how this is done needs a careful reassessment of the needs of all the hall users.

To have the pressure, and pressure it is, at the prospect of a Community Asset Transfer thrust into the mix is not helpful at all.

The council says it will provide resources to facilitate the talks – but we now know their agenda to get rid of it from their portfolio and save money. But it is, they insist, what the people want. But is it?

Communities on the mainland – including Beith and West Kilbride – have fought successfully to retain their existing library buildings and services – but will Arran be as fortunate now that decision on a Community Asset Transfer has been agreed?

At least Councillor Billings was able to extract a pledge from the council’s top official that the council will retain services on the island, once they reopen, if no one comes forward to take them over – but for how long?

The weeks and months ahead look like being a challenging one if the community is to keep all the present facilities intact at Brodick Hall.

Councillor leader Joe Cullinane described such facilities this week ‘as the fabric that brings communities together’. Let’s hope the council remember that.