Protesters march to save The Buszy

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More than 100 protesters are due to march to the civic offices tonight in a bid to secure the future of The Buszy venue.

The community hub is threatened with closure by Milton Keynes Development Partnership, the council’s own commercial arm.

MKDP aims to snatch back the prime parking spaces surrounding the venue, which is opposite CMK rail station, in order to make more cash.

But the spaces had previously been privately rented by Buszy management to raise £202,000 a year.

This income funds their packed programme of activities and renders the facility totally self-sufficient.

A ‘Save The Buszy’ petition signed by more than 3,700 people will be presented at the full council meeting tonight.

Make a Difference, the community interest company that runs The Buszy from the former bus station building, is urging councillors realise the “devastating” consequences that closure could have on the community.

A MaD spokesman said: “We took an empty building and abandoned bus yard and converted it into a self-funding social enterprise to provide positive activities for young people and provide community space for other groups.

“That building had sat in a derelict state for several years, costing the landlords tens of thousands a year just to sit empty.”

MaD say there has been no guarantee from either MKDP or MK council that any income gained will be redistributed to any community groups.

The spokesman said MaD made an initial offer to pay £50,000 rent for the car park – but this was rejected by MKDP.

MaD has also revealed that crime and anti-social behaviour in the area has reduced by 94 per cent since The Buszy.

Some 22,500 people have used the building and 43 jobs have been created.

“An independent SRO1 (social return on investment) analysis found that for every £1 of funding received, the activities of MaD created £8.13 of social benefit or potential savings to the public”, said the spokesman.

Last week MK council leader Pete Marland admitted The Buszy “ticked all the boxes” for his Labour administration.

Despite being a board member of MKDP, he revealed he was not happy with the way the situation has been handled.

He told the Citizen: “I have always said I did not want to see The Buszy close.”