The news that Rusthall Parish Council is seeking to acquire the old fire station for use by the parish council and also as premises for youth activities is welcome. Rusthall has long been plagued by children roaming the streets with nothing to do. However it will not be a panacea.
I do not object to paying a little more to provide more facilities for young people and should a consequence be a marked diminution in the unsocial behaviour by young louts that disfigures our neighbourhood, that will be a bonus. However, I doubt the bonus will be delivered. It will be interesting to know the views of residents living close to the old fire station.
It is postulated in the press report that there might be other community uses for the building. I would encourage a variety of uses be built into the proposal. One matter which must be addressed is that of storage space: it is often underestimated how much is needed when multi-user activities are planned.
Parish precept payers will be saddled with ongoing revenue costs for the building and these costs will rise should the decision be taken to apply to the Public Works Loan Board for a loan.
Parish councils may apply to the Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities programme for a grant to acquire premises for community use. the minimum sum awarded is £100,000 which is the amount Rusthall Parish Council has to raise.