A public meeting has been called to help save The Buzsy from closure.
The MK People’s Assembly, along with the Buszy, service users and community groups, called the meeting following an announcement this week that The Buszy has been given notice by Milton Keynes Development Partnership to leave the former bus station building it has occupied for five years.
The youth hub, which, keeps hundreds of teenagers off the streets every week, is being forced by to close to make way for a multi-story car park opposite CMK rail station.
But supporters are going to fight to keep the iconic centre open and have set up a ‘Save The Buzsy’ campaign.
A statement on its website states: “The Buszy, an iconic community space in the centre of Milton Keynes, is under threat!
“We believe that community spaces like the Buszy should be publicly owned and invested in, not sold off.”
“Milton Keynes council have issued the groups occupying the building with notice and intend to kick them out - unless we stop them!
“The building and staff is funded through its car park and the council are saying they aren’t prepared to “subsidise” the Buszy anymore by letting them use the Buszy car park as a source of revenue.
“The council originally wanted to “take the car park back”. This will make it impossible to keep the building running, effectively shutting the Buszy down by the door.
“We believe that community spaces like the Buszy should be publicly owned and invested in, not sold off!
“SAVE THE BUSZY!”
Already staff have warned the closure could prompt anti-social behaviour problems, with large numbers of young people left hanging about with nothing to do.
“Since we opened, crime in this area has reduced to almost zero. I dread to think what could happen now,” said Denise Davis-Boreham, chief executive of Make a Difference, which is the community interest company that runs The Buszy.
Open seven days a week, the venue offers constant activities, including a skate park, for youngsters aged 13 to 18.
It runs sessions for disabled people, disadvantaged teens, young carers and the homeless as well a holiday clubs for schoolchildren throughout the year.
Many youngsters are referred through social services at Milton Keynes Council for a dose of The Buszy fun and care, said Denise.
The council set up the commercially-run MK Development Partnership in 2013 to manage its £32m portfolio of land and assets – which includes The Buszy building and car park.
“We have managed to be financially self-sufficient by renting out car parking spaces to commuters and also hiring out rooms for private functions. We haven’t been a burden to anybody,” said Denise.
There has been discussion regarding Make a Difference and The Buszy site.
A spokesman for the council said: “This is an issue between Make a Difference and the owners of the Buszy site, Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP). MKDP is an independent company, so any queries should therefore be directed to MKDP.
“Of course Milton Keynes Council values the work and contribution that Make a Difference and other voluntary organisations make and we are happy to discuss their future needs.”
The meeting is to beld on October 15 at The Buzsy Cafe at 6.30pm.