People power coupled with council panic could serve to save the successful Buszy venue from closure, the Citizen can exclusively reveal.
The community hub, which helps hundreds of young or disadvantaged people, was given its marching orders this month by the council-owned Milton Keynes Development Partnership.
But after bizarre backtracking from the council, together with a series of awkward questions from the Citizen, the money-making MKDP was this week showing a change of heart.
Seemingly prompted by council leader Pete Marland, it is now offering The Buszy a chance to stay on in the building, which is the former bus depot opposite CMK station.
But MKDP is still snatching away the venue’s 250-space car park – even though the council has REFUSED planning permission to turn it into a more lucrative multi-storey.
Until now the prime parking spaces have been rented out privately by Make a Difference, the Community Interest Company that runs The Buszy.
This income has allowed the venue to be entirely self sufficient.
It will now be forced to seek grants and community help to continue.
Already Make a Difference chief executive Denise Davis- Boreham has predicted a dramatic increase in crime and anti-social behaviour if the huge crowd of The Buszy’s young users have nowhere to go. Dozens of community groups would also be left stranded.
Councillor Marland agrees The Buszy’s work ‘ticks all the boxes’ for his Labour controlled council. As leader of the council, Mr Marland is automatically a board member of MKDP.
He has welcomed MKDP’s offer of a lifeline, but admits he is not wholly happy about the way they dealt with the closure.
He told the Citizen: “I have always said I did not want to see The Buszy close.... I believe the situation could have been handled far better and with more clarity, and I will be asking people to reflect on that.”
Meanwhile MK Council, via its press office, made unprecedented efforts this week to disassociate itself with MKDP.
One media statement explained MKDP was “wholly owned” by the council, but stressed it was a “separate constituted legal entity”.
This week an MKDP spokesman Julie Clay denied there was a “rift” between the two bodies.
But she confirmed: “If MaD made a proposal to MKDP to run the building without the car park that is financially viable and sustainable MKDP would consider it.”
> More than 3,300 people have already signed a petition to save The Buszy. There is a public meeting tonight at 6.30pm at the Buszy Cafe.