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MP calls for “eviction” of voluntary groups to be put on hold

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MP Helen Jones has called on Warrington Borough Council to re-open talks with groups facing eviction from Fearnhead Cross Youth and Community Centre.
The Warrington North MP said a number of people were expressing grave concerns to her at how the situation has seemed to have escalated out of control.
She said: “I was told originally that these groups had wanted to leave the centre but it would now appear that that is not the case and they have been issued letters requiring them to go.
“I understand from borough councillors that the reasons for these ‘evictions’ have not been properly outlined to the groups involved. Certainly, the councillors are not aware of the details.
“It also seems that the council have been in discussions to resolve the situation, which they describe as ‘positive’. Why, for goodness sake, cannot that positive position be turned into a satisfactory resolution without resort to throwing community groups out of a community centre. This is not a good look.
“I further understand that the ‘eviction’ day is scheduled for May 23 but the appeal against their removal is not to be heard until June. Despite that, all the equipment the groups have is to be removed by May 23. Presumably, if they win their appeal it would have to be re-instated.
“I would have thought that common sense would prevail and any ‘eviction’ would be put on hold until after the appeal. I call on the council, even at this late stage, to ensure fresh talks are held and a solution found. At the very least no ‘eviction’ should take place before an appeal decision is reached.”
Voluntary groups, includiNG the Fearnhead Management Group and the Blackbrook Community Association have been served with notice to quit the community centre by Thursday after more than 30 years of operating from there.
The council says the evictions necessary for health and safety reasons and the council has offered to support the groups in attempts to find alternative premises. . The decision is considered in the best interests of staff and all centre users.

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