Seafield motion unanimously backed
The hockey pitch at Seafield should be reserved for the new Eric Gray Centre, it was unanimously agreed at a meeting of the full council today.
The handwritten motion, which was not on the agenda, was raised by social services chairman Cecil Smith, who wanted the decision taken as a matter of urgency.
His move come after fears were raised that a local caravan and camping group was interested in taking over the whole of the Seafield site, including the hockey pitch. In September the council agreed to enter into discussion with the group.
That prompted an angry response from parents and carers of adults with additional support needs, who believed the site was earmarked for a new Eric Gray Centre.
The council today agreed that any continuing negotiation with the caravan and camping group should not include the hockey pitch, which should be set aside for the replacement centre.
Mr Smith said this should “allay fears” of the vulnerable members of society and their families. He had had many “emotional conversations” on the issue with families, who could have accepted a delay in a new build but felt let down by recent news that the camp and caravan users could get Seafield.
Outline planning permission for a new Eric Gray Centre had been given in 2011, he said, and the plans for the centre, at that time priced at £4.5 million, had been drawn up and approved by councillors but never submitted.
The plans were halted earlier this year when the SIC agreed to put a hold on new capital projects to save money.
However the council had a statutory duty to care for adults with additional support needs, whose numbers were set to double by 2020, said Mr Smith.
He said no time scale could be committed to the project but it would be built when the money became available.