Don’t dispose of St Mary’s Social Centre

WE learn with dismay the reported intention of Lewes District Council to dispose of St Mary’s Social Centre and Supporters’ Club (Sussex Express, 21 September 2012). Apparently ‘community value’ is the new priority. I wonder if Lewes District Council could tell us if they think the many local organizations that use and rely upon the superb facilities at St Mary’s, including Lewes Chess Club among others listed in last week’s paper, provide community value? Is an income for Lewes District Council of £8,500 a year for a vibrant going concern not in itself ‘value’ apart from the benefit provided by these groups? Or is ‘community value’ really a euphemism for ‘asset strip’?

We call upon Lewes District Council to clarify for the benefit of all users of St Mary’s, that it has no plans, or will drop such plans as are in development, to dispose of St Mary’s and affirm that the facility already provides community value and will continue to do so for so long as the people who use its facilities wish it to remain.

Martin Costley, Chairman, for and on behalf of Lewes Chess Club