Protesters demand to know plans for the future of The Buszy

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Protesters are planning a Freedom of Information probe to discover exactly what MK Development Partnership plans to do with the Buszy building.

More than 100 people marched to Milton Keynes Council last week in the continuing campaign to save services for young and disabled people at Station Square building..

The Buszy, which users say has been enormously successful, faces closure after a decision by Milton Keynes Development Partnership.

Marchers attended last week’s council meeting to discover whether the council - despite owning MKDP - has any accountability for its operations.

Council Leader Peter Marland sits on the MKDP board, along with fellow councillors Brian White (Labour), Edith Bald (Conservative leader) and Jenni Ferrans (Lib Dem).

The Buszy is run by community interest company Make a Difference, and wholly funded by its car park.

MKDP now wants to take the car park back, despite having been refused planning permission to create a multi-storey. It has ended the MaD lease, but says Buszy users can continue rent-free until 8 January.

However, with no leadership or funding, The Buszy will close next month, say MaD.

“Councillor Marland said the revenue from the Buszy Car Park would be used by MKDP. However, Charles Macdonald (CEO of MKDP) said that it would be the council that decided how the money was used,” said Neil Williams from People’s Assembly.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Kevin Vickers, Chair of the people’s assembly, asked councillors to instruct MKDP to meet a delegation of Buszy users.

To cheers from the public, he said: “We need investment in our young people and services, not funding cuts. The leader must ask MKDP to guarantee no changes to funding or service provision until a full impact assessment has been carried out.”

“If it was accepted for the car park revenue to fund the Buszy until now, what has changed?”

“A confidential document received by Milton Keynes People’s Assembly marks the Buszy site “high priority” for “development”. This is an important community asset. Councillor Marland’s statement the Buszy will be “available for community use for the medium term” are too vague to be meaningful. We hope a Freedom of Information bid will reveal more about MKDP’s vision for the building.”

Mr Williams said: “It’s no accident this happens when the Council is forced by Tory austerity policies to slash £70m from services by 2020.

“They have already cut £20m from the YMCA homeless hostel, Citizens Advice Bureau and Age UK. MKDP’s “commercial and entrepreneurial approach” must not override its core remit to manage public assets for the good of Milton Keynes.

“The Buszy provides vital services for young, poor and disadvantaged people surely that’s a public good?”