Ashford UNISON say “Keep the Stour Centre open!”

Ashford UNISON are campaigning against the proposed closure of the local leisure centre, with a petition that has gained over 1000 signatures in just a few days.

Ashford Borough Council, in a meeting last week, proposed the closure of the Stour Centre leisure facility to carry out refurbishment works.

The works had originally been planned to be carried out while the Centre remained open to the public, however without any public consultation, Councillors are now proposing to shut down this much-used community asset.

There is huge public concern about the closure of the centre, both in terms of the unnecessary loss of a valued and well-used facility, as well as the loss of over 100 dedicated staff who will be made redundant as a result of this decision.

In just a few days, a petition to keep the centre open has attracted over 1000 signatures which shows the strength of local feeling.

Regional Organiser Mark Hammond: “UNISON is calling upon the council to keep the Stour Centre open, save over 100 jobs and let our members carry on providing a highly valued service to the people  of Ashford. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said recently that ‘no avoidable redundancies are acceptable’. These redundancies are avoidable and the council should lead by example and support people in employment instead of forcing them out of it because it is convenient.”

Since the initial council meeting, leisure centres have had restrictions lifted and will be permitted to open in a few weeks time.

Just a week ago, in his Summer Statement, the Chancellor announced a ‘furlough scheme bonus’ for employers who keep workers in employment until 2021, which adds to the case for keeping the staff in employment.

If you live in the Borough, please sign the petition.