Plans submitted for Caistor Multi-Use Centre met with a frosty reception from town councillors at their meeting last week.
A lengthy discussion took place both in the planning meeting and the main meeting with some councillors angered by what they say is ‘lack of consultation’ on the future of the former Magistrates Court building in South Street.
The centre was set up for community use but the latest plan includes turning part of the centre into a charity shop.
Coun Deborah Barker was one of the councillors against the plan and said it would mean the loss of a community facility.
She said: “Turning it into a shop is going against what we all agreed this was going to be - a meeting place for community groups.
“We have 60 community groups in Caistor; where are they going to meet?
“I am totally against turning this into a shop -we just can’t do it.”
Fellow town councillor Michael Galligan served on the Multi-Use Centre commitee and explained the past year had been difficult for the centre.
He said: “The Multi-Use Centre has hardly been used over the past five years.
“Last year, we had £800 in but expenses were £1,200.
“It couldn’t be left running like that; something needed to be done.
“A meeting was called of the trustees - which anyone could come to - and it was decided there was nobody able to run the Multi-Use Centre.
“A meeting was then held with Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre and it was much debated what to do with the Multi-Use Centre.
“Rightly or wrongly, if the two charities amalgamate it could be an asset to the town.”
However it wasn’t just the proposed plans that ruffled feathers at the meeting but also an apparent lack of information.
Council chairman Alan Somerscales said: “All this has been going on and the people of Caistor, including many of this council, had absolutely no indication that this was going to be contracted.
“It (the centre) was set up as a community benefit and all of a sudden it has been ripped out from under everyone’s feet.
“Councillor Galligan has served the town well by looking after the centre for so long but that doesn’t negate the fact the council and the town should have been advised what was going on.”
Councillors voted six to four not to support the application for change of use.