The Mayfield Centre and Downside Community Centre
It is a sign of wisdom to value the ownership of worthwhile things. The more so when these things are held in trust for others in the community. Sadly there seems to be a shortage of wisdom at Dunstable Town Council.
The Mayfield Centre – a community drop in centre where children could call in, perhaps to get homework done or simply to chat involving an adult with a sympathetic ear – has been closed. Once this was a busy hub. At one time you could get help with official forms or be helped to deal with the bureaucratic stuff of every day life or even drop in for a cup of tea… but no more. Despite it being let on a peppercorn rent to Dunstable Town Council – it didn’t make money. When the decision to close the centre was taken , the Council was one hundred percent Conservative.
Downside Community Centre is a different and more positive story. This too faced the same future as Mayfield but a last ditch campaign by Labour Councillor Roger Pepworth and two independent Councillors – Neal Reynolds and the late Julian Murray, helped prevent the building being demolished and replaced with houses. (Don’t get the wrong idea here. There was no sudden Damascene Conversion of the Tories to Social housing – No they thought they stood a better chance of getting planning permission in an area of outstanding natural beauty if it was social housing!)
The centre, now licenced to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, is a hub for a whole group of charitable and community provisions. No thanks to the Tories!