Rusthall Parish Council is considering the purchase of the old fire station and turning it into a facility for a youth club and an office for the council. A Rusthall resident has offered to donate the capital cost of purchase of the property. This will leave the council to fund adaptation costs and ongoing revenue expenditure for upkeep of the building. Inevitably this will result in a charge on the parish precept. So far I have not seen a figure for the likely annual cost to Rusthall residents.
It is a difficult issue. On the one hand a good case can be made for more activities for young people in the village. The Rusthall Community & Youth Project goes some way to meet the need, as do the facilities at the playing fields on Southwood Road: but more needs to be done.
However two major issues require resolving. People living near the old fire station are concerned at the possibilities of noise and unsocial behaviour and one should not seek to disregard such concerns or play down the likelihood of problems.
The second issue is the funding of the youth activities. The parish council currently funds some of the work of the Rusthall C & YP but will this funding continue in the event that the parish council decides to fund the work at the old fire station? We do not know how much this will cost annually.
Would it be possible to construct a made for purpose youth facility on the school site, well away from housing?