Councillor calls for action over ‘mothballed’ Burntwood skills centre

A Burntwood councillor says she is seeking urgent action over the future of the town’s vocational centre.

The £2.5million facility adjacent to Chase Terrace Technology College opened in 2011 and offers skills training to 14 to 19-year-olds.

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

But Labour county councillor Sue Woodward has raised concerns after being told the site is currently “mothballed”.

“I know that the centre has been under huge pressure because of changes in national policy and funding arrangements,” she said. “But I was given to believe that these were being addressed with new initiatives being considered.

“It was therefore a shock and disappointment to see its doors closed.

“It’s got great potential for boosting the local economy both in Burntwood and further afield, but at present it has in effect been mothballed.

“It simply isn’t good enough for Leaders at Staffordshire County Council to allow this excellent facility to lie idle at a time of skills shortages and also fail to keep local stakeholders and their representatives informed about what’s going on.

“It’s all very well talking the talk about a thriving skills agenda but the local community is being let down by a failure to walk the walk.”

Cllr Woodward has regularly met with Cllr Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills.

He said last year that he was “determined to help local people to take advantage” of opportunities available and allow them to “make best use of the excellent facilities”.

But with the current inactivity at the site, Cllr Woodward is now calling for a similar restructure to the one at the Tamworth Skills Centre.

She added: “I don’t want this to be yet another example of Burntwood losing out to other areas.”

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