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Lib Dems force Cabinet to think again over Braeside/Oxenwood

May 22, 2018 1:00 PM

The strength of community campaigning was once again demonstrated with the protest against the decision to close Braeside and Oxenwood at today's Braeside Outdoor Education Centrefull Council meeting. The Conservative administration accepted a Lib Dem amendment that in referring the decision back to cabinet that it should be open and transparent and use every "best effort" to ensure these two sites remain in use for outdoor education.

In a virtually unanimous vote the Council agreed with Lib Dem group leader Ian Thorn's amendment that, "any decision taken by this cabinet should be open and transparent, that social impacts should be considered equally with financial impacts and use every best effort to ensure the two sites will remain in use for outdoor education."

Cllr Jon Hubbard implored Cabinet, "on behalf of the children and young people, the parents, the carers, and the residents who just actually do give a damn about this issue, I beg you to find an alternative solution. Community Asset Transfer, Renting, Long Term Lease, proactively seek an alternative provider and please let's keep these important and impactful facilities delivering for our children and young people."

Cllr Thorn also added in defence of the centres that, "this county has a moral duty to support young people and keep these centres open."

Alan Rankin of Devizes Liberal Democrats was one of many residents who spoke out against the closure, criticising Wiltshire Council's lack of

Alan Rankin at Braeside

Campaigner Alan Rankin at Braeside Outdoor Education Centre

appreciation of the value of these treasured Outdoor Education Centres. Alan said, "In Wiltshire we have pockets of relatively poor families who would be disproportionately disadvantaged by the closure of Braeside and Oxenwood."

"This short-term decision to favour the immediate needs of the purse may have expensive detrimental effects on statutory services and the future happiness and well-being of the people of Wiltshire. Wiltshire Council, where everybody matters, needs to take the necessary time, care and expertise to thoroughly review the decision to close Braeside and Oxenwood."