It has been announced that Bodmin Town Council are to close the Bodmin Town Public Rooms and sell them to the highest bidder as part of sweeping cuts across the council, with the closure planned for April 1st 2013.
There has been a building on the exact spot of the Public Rooms since 1239, with the late Victorian Grade II building there today hosting not only the Bodmin Town Museum, but a number of other events and community meetings, such as Zumba dance classes, the Bodmin Operatic Society and NHS blood donations. Many of these groups and gatherings will cease to exist due to the high costs and availability of hiring other facilities, another nail in the coffin of community spirit in Bodmin.
In their last annual report, Bodmin Town Council listed a number of key objectives ‘to create a sustainable and vibrant community for Bodmin’. One of these was; ‘supporting the continued preservation and revitalisation of leisure, heritage, tourism, culture, social, educational and environmental needs for Bodmin.’
Does the sale of an important site that fulfils all of these needs not go completely against their objective of creating a sustainable and vibrant community for our town? More than eight thousand people visit the Bodmin Town Museum every year, and in that same annual report, the council described the Public Rooms as being ‘...a valuable resource for the community with 510 bookings being made during 2011/12. This represents an increase of 51% of bookings from the 338 bookings made in 2010/11 and still proves to be an affordable venue for a number of local community groups.’ It then went on to say; ‘Supports and sustains growth by providing leisure and business meeting facilities and contributes towards a socially inclusive and caring community by providing facilities for community groups to meet.’
In that annual report, Bodmin Town Council’s first key objective to delivering ‘a sustainable and vibrant community for Bodmin’ is listed as ‘Providing a democratic representation in the interests of the people of Bodmin.’ With the planned closure and sale of the Public Rooms, we don’t feel that the council is providing a democratic representation of our interests. As such, we would like a full meeting between the public and the Bodmin town councillors to discuss the issue and to discuss the alternatives to the sale and closure of a site that does provide a sustainable and vibrant community for Bodmin.