ePetition details

The Old School, Dudley Road

We, the undersigned, petition the council to withdraw the notice of termination of lease issued on 5th October 2018, giving Blakenhall Action Community Form [ BACF] and all its Centre users just 28 days to vacate the premises, and to resume discussions with BACF to find a practical solution to the fire safety issues identified in the Fire Risk Assessment carried out by Jacobs on 1st March 2018.

The Old School is a historic complex of buildings, built in 1873, and is the only remaining example of the Board Schools set up by the Council at the start of state education.
BACF has been managing the premises since June 2013. The Old School has over 30 regular user groups, including 5 local small businesses, and a wide variety of groups supporting children, young people, women, the elderly and those with disabilities, including an Autism group, and a regular disco for young people with special needs. On a Sunday, it hosts faith groups from various parts of Africa, the Caribbean, the Philippines. It also hosts a jobclub, and training and employability programmes as part of the City Council’s Learning Communities initiative.
Around 900 people per week make use of the Old School for their activities.
Over the past five years BACF has taken a number of steps to improve the premises, and to prevent further deterioration. These have included :
- removal of asbestos
- dealing with pigeon infestation to the upper floor of the main building
- sealing off the upper floor to ensure that no-one has access
- upgrading toilets
- maintaining and upgrading fire safety precautions, including new exit signs
- new boiler for the kitchen
- repairs to the central heating and to the flat roof in the Aspiring Futures unit
- redecoration of the Community Centre building and the large hall in the main building
- new flooring and carpeting to the reception area and offices
- rebuilding the front wall and gate damaged by a vehicle accident
- improved signage.
The Fire Risk Assessments carried out by Jacobs in March 2018 noted that "there have been marked improvements made which have not involved any significant capital outlay. There is a determination among the volunteers to continue the improvements however future major improvements in fire safety systems are dependent on obtaining funding.”
The report listed a number of recommended actions, and stated that implementation of these actions will help to reduce the overall grading, which for the Community Centre building is LOW to MEDIUM. Since then, many of the recommendations have been carried out by BACF, except of course the installation of a new fire alarm system.
The Council’s action in giving just 28 days notice to vacate the premises is unreasonable, and will lead to the loss of a vital community facility in one of Wolverhampton’s most diverse and most deprived wards.
BACF has been in ongoing discussions with relevant Council officers, and proposed that we should concentrate on the standalone Community Centre building, where over 90% of the activity takes place. The cost of bringing this building into full compliance with fire safety standards is not great, and will save the Council the expense of boarding up and securing the building, while maintaining a vital community facility serving the diverse community of Blakenhall. So far our proposal has not been accepted by CWC.

Started by: Vikas Chopra (Blakenhall Action Community Forum {BACF])

This ePetition ran from 18/10/2018 to 17/11/2018 and has now finished.

Nobody signed this ePetition.