Haverhill

Haverhill: Town leaders threaten legal action against Suffolk County Council

Saturday, February 2, 2013
2.00 PM

A MAYOR has claimed legal action is the only way to stop “unwarranted attacks” on his town by Suffolk County Council.

Leaders at Haverhill Town Council said they have begun a legal challenge against the county council after an announcement that a community centre in Camps Road will be transformed into a hospice outreach centre rather than being handed to the local authority.

The town council said it was told that St Nicholas Hospice Care’s bid for the Burton Centre was accepted over their own as the charity’s private donations and retail operations are more reliable than the council’s statutory right to raise money from taxpayers.

But Haverhill Mayor Pat Hanlon, who said the county council has offered to consider handing them the former magistrates’ court instead, claimed the situation was “absurd”.

He added: “What it has done demands action to defend the interests of the Haverhill community. Its reasons are nonsensical and it has ignored its own policies and priorities.

“What we end up with is a community centre being closed, and local people being asked to pay a high price to convert another building into a replacement.

“Wouldn’t it make much more sense to keep the Burton Centre as a community centre and offer a different building to St Nicholas Hospice Care, which has already said it is prepared to pay for improvements?

“Its logic defies any reasonable interpretation and we are determined to demonstrate that to the county, in court if that’s what it takes.

!We will do all we can to defend Haverhill against their continued and unwarranted attacks.”

A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman said the authority had not received any correspondence regarding a legal challenge.

She added: “However, if we receive correspondence to this effect in the future, we will deal with it through the appropriate channels.”