JOBS at Newport’s Riverside Centre could be under threat and its revenue cut drastically if County Hall continues to adopt a new, stricter booking criteria that will exclude use for all but those that support the disabled.
Riverside Centre Ltd, which leases the Riverside buildings from the Isle of Wight Council, is in discussion with the authority over the current and future running of the premises.
The council aims to return its use to that which is stated in its lease — a multi-purpose centre for the disabled — and, as a result, it has adopted a more robust approach to considering bookings, rejecting commercial money-spinners in the process.
Although existing bookings will be honoured, the authority has considered fresh applications since last month and has already rejected several.
They include one in aid of Help for Heroes and another for a hustings for the new police and crime commissioner role. Weddings, discos, business meetings and conferences will be among other casualties of the booking system, which is being overseen by Isle of Wight Council chief executive Steve Beynon.
According to Isle of Wight Council, the Help for Heroes event will be re-considered once issues over the terms of the lease have been resolved.
Adrian Bolton, the Riverside’s facilities and functions manager, fears for the future of the centre.
He said: "Without the commercial income, revenue will be cut sharply. I don’t know where funding will come from to keep it afloat. Any profits we make go directly back into the charity.
"The worry is this could lead to all our jobs being under threat."
In a joint Isle of Wight Council and Riverside Centre Ltd statement, agreement was reached that in the short term, the building should only be used in accordance with the current lease.
The statement read: "As landlord, the council cannot authorise variations from it, however well-intentioned those variations are.
"In the new year, we will consult upon how a new lease could enable the centre to provide amenities for which it was intended and host other activities in support of this aim."