Council limits use of Riverside Centre

By Jon Moreno

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Council limits use of Riverside Centre

The Riverside Centre in Newport, Isle of Wight.

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."



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by Sue Moody

23rd November 2012, at 09:38:52

I understand that in the current economic climate the Riverside is struggling to keep going. It definitely should keep going because it plays a valued part in our Society, not least because of it's staff. However, I object to reading a comment in the Letters to the Editor this week wher the writer states that unless everyone can use the Riverside Centre it will turn into a ghetto. I have found this definition of ghetto; A ghetto is literally a poor or dangerous neighborhood. When people say "That's so ghetto," they're saying it's low class In the 20th century. So as disabled people we are now being classed as this statement?! Having tried on occasions to book a room at the Riverside Centre for a group who are 'disabled' and been turned away, I now see why. However I'm not against everybody making this a Community Hub but why not have two rates - one for genuine disabled groups and one for 'anybody'. This would then keep the facility going. I think our MP is based t

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by Peter Lewis

21st November 2012, at 08:40:17

Hang on , have I missed something here. This centre is for activites related to the disabled. Help for Heroes have had a booking rejected? If I haven't missed the point then this council should hang it's head in shame. Vote of no confidence and remove them. Surely there are far more pressing things the council could be looking in to. Talk about lack fo gratitiude.If I have missed the point and help for heroes (a charity set up to , initially, raise funds for Hedley Court and the treatment of our wounded) are being allowed to use the building then I apologise.

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by Greg Wilson

20th November 2012, at 14:52:36

Wasn't there something in the paper some time ago about the Riverside not actually paying the rent that was due to the council? If that is the case - where did the money go?

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by Rob Allen

20th November 2012, at 14:42:34

IW Council should hold their heads in shame!!!!

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by tony white

20th November 2012, at 14:42:18

If there ever was any doubt about the arrogant incompetence of the Isle of Wight Council this should prove it, the centre is trying to survive in hard times and the council have hammered yet another nail in its coffin, Benyon has proved beyond doubt that he and others in the council are little more than bullying jobsworths and seem hell bent on destroying the island whilst they sit in County hall dreaming up ever more grandiose titles for themselves

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by Kevin Barclay-Jay

20th November 2012, at 14:40:18

Another episode in the pathetic war between our Tory council and our Tory MP....both useless articles that hopefully will be out of a job next election....but beware who awaits their demise

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by AK Smith

20th November 2012, at 13:02:21

Shameful IOW Council as usual, the Riverside Centre's only chance of survival is to make money from hiring out it's function rooms. When they force the service to close will they be selling off the Public's Centre, leave it boarded up as an eyesore for years to come or have they earmarked a space with a view of the river for their expensive new desks??????

The award winning staff are amazing and work so hard for the service users.

In all the time I have worked on the IOW I have never known the IOW Council to do anything in the real interest of the people of the IOW.

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by gary stevens

20th November 2012, at 12:53:32

while i understand that the riverside centre is for the disabled my mother saved her money in the 1990 to help pay for benyon and co at county hall forget who they work that is the iow public and they are accountable.the centre has been loss making and if the the centre has too close inthe future i suggest mr benyon gives up his salery first as the council has already sold off most of the councils assets

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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