THE FUTURE of youth provision in Stone is still uncertain after councillors heard Staffordshire County Council wouldn’t talk to them about it.
The county authority announced in March it would not be running youth services in the future. Instead they will be run by volunteers and youth workers.
Councillor Harry Brunt proposed Stone Town Council (STC) should consider taking over the town’s youth centre from the county council and handing the Frank Jordan Centre back to the borough council.
The lease on the centre is due to expire next year and some members believe it should be handed back to the borough because it loses thousands of pounds a year.
He said STC would then be able to run youth services in the youth centre using £100,000 the authority has in its reserves.
“The £100,000 is available,” he said.
“It could be spent on a project or it could be used to reduce council tax next year.”
Clerk Les Trigg said: “I have been having discussion with the county council for some time. At the moment they’re not prepared to talk to us about it. They have said they’re reviewing the successor to their youth provision one area at a time and they haven’t yet come to Stone. They will be having discussions with the council and other organisations.
“So at the moment it would be premature to think we could count on taking on the youth centre and it’s by no means a foregone conclusion it would come to us.”
Councillor Jill Hood said the money should be used to provide a play area for younger children.
“Never mind the kids at the youth club. We can work that out later. This town is letting its very young children down.”
Councillor Ann Tomlinson said: “I’m now a bit suspicious when the county council says they haven’t got round to looking at that yet because by the time they look at it it’s a fait accomplish. So in other words they will decide our youth centre will have to close and we won’t have a leg to stand for because they have made up their mind.”
Councillor June Price said: “Whether we like it or not the county council own the youth centre and we have got to abide by their decision and wait their time. We can’t force their hand.”
Members of STC’s general purposes committee agreed to discuss the matter in the future.