By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 14 September 2012 Updated: 17/09 09:50
THE FORMER Redi Centre could house the borough's youth services.
Councillors have suggested the Smallwood building, which was closed in December 2010, would be a viable alternative for the Redditch Youth and Community Enterprise (RYCE) to use if they do not raise enough money to buy the Youth House in Ipsley Street - earmarked to be closed and sold off by Worcestershire County Council.
Coun Phil Mould, responsible for corporate management on Redditch Borough Council which owns the Redi Centre, indicated they would consider the idea.
"Like just about everybody on the council I would say I want something done with it. An empty building like that will only attract problems like vandalism and is also a drain on resources when it could be bringing in money," he told a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday (September 11).
"It is a vital asset to the town and I believe it is being wasted now. It has been shut for two years so I would like to see a voluntary sector organisation running it but they must pay their way or build on it or do something with it."
Ray Groves, RYCE chairman, said both buildings had their advantages and disadvantages but their focus remained on buying the existing Youth House when it closed on December 31.
The group has also been refused permission to hold an open day at the venue so groups interested in using it could see what the building had to offer.
But Coun David Thain, responsible for transformation and change on the county council and who represents the area the Youth House is in, said allowing RYCE to host the event would be 'misleading and unfair'.
Borough councillor Rebecca Blake, who organised the initial meeting which led to the formation of RYCE, said she was shocked by the decision.
"If the council refuse to support the community in such a small request, they are condemning Redditch to another car park rather than a centre for the community."
But Coun Thain added allowing the event would raise expectations the county council would allow them to use it when it had already been agreed it would be sold.
"We are close to making a decision on who's going to provide activities across Redditch, not just concentrated on one site in the centre of the town," he said.
"The building is going on the disposal list and is in such a poor state of repair, they would be better of going to the Redi Centre."
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