Hogmanay deadline for Mearns groups

Centre users have been campiagning to keep the facility.
Centre users have been campiagning to keep the facility.

Groups using the Mearns Community Centre have been told that they will have to move to the new Academy facilities by the end of the year.

That was made clear at a meeting between council officials and representatives for the Laurencekirk centre users on August 1.

The users were told “there is no capacity or ability for Aberdeenshire Council to continue to run and maintain the existing community centre as a community facility once the new building commences operation, as the operating costs would not be affordable.”.

Suggestions that the community could take over the running of the facility were dismissed, as it was revealed that “there was no current appetite” from the community to take over.

Groups, including the much-used Friday lunch club and Thursday coffee morning, have been told that the council cannot keep the centre going for them.

However, the local authority have agreed to let them continue to use the centre for the time being, with a review at the end of November.

The aim, they were told, is to move them to the new Mearns Academy campus by December 31 of this year.

The one exception is the Laurencekirk Out of School Club who, backed by a report for the care commission, have said that the new facilities will not meet their needs.

The long-term plan is to move the group to Laurencekirk primary School once an extension has been added, with a proposed date of October 2015.

The group will be allowed to continue to use Mearns Community Centre until this date.