Changing Old Mining College’s name would damage Burntwood’s heritage, says Labour leader

A proposal to change to the name of Burntwood’s Old Mining College will wipe away the heritage of the building.

The Old Mining College Centre

The Old Mining College Centre

A decision on the plan has been deferred following a meeting of Burntwood Town Council.

But Labour councillor Eric Drinkwater accused the Tories of trying to wipe out the area’s heritage.

Cllr Eric Drinkwater

Cllr Eric Drinkwater

“The Conservatives were proposing, with immediate effect, to forget the history and heritage of this once proud mining area by changing the name to Burntwood Town Hall.

“This was done without any consultation or consideration to the businesses or charities who rent rooms in the building.”

The Edwardian red-brick building was built in 1912 as a training centre for pit apprentices.

It was taken over by Lichfield District Council in 1998, but has since been taken on by Burntwood Town Council with a view to it becoming the authority’s new home.

But Cllr Drinkwater said that groups using the facility would be left counting the costs of any name change.

He said: “These organisations would have costs and inconvenience as they would have to change all letter headings and addresses if the name was changed.”

The decision has now been deferred and Burntwood Town Council’s Conservative leader, Cllr Richard Mosson, admitted they may have moved too quickly on the proposed renaming.

He said: “We have conceded that maybe, on reflection, we were a little too hasty in making a decision about changing the name of the building.

“We thought it was a good idea in principle and have stated that if the name were changed that we would ensure the building’s heritage was never forgotten.

“I made a proposal last week to consult with both the businesses that reside in the building, along with regular users, and that is what the council will now do. The intention is to bring this feedback to full council.

“If there was a strong feeling against the proposal then we would obviously look to retain the building as the Old Mining College Centre.”

But Cllr Mosson claimed that the decision to look at renaming the site had not come from his own ranks.

“It was actually a member of the Labour group who initially came up with the suggestion back when they were in charge of Burntwood Town Council,” he said. “This was reiterated during a meeting shortly after we took control, when both parties met to discuss plans for the Old Mining College Centre.

“We saw the renaming as the Town Hall as a new chapter in the life of the building given it is the new home of the council.

“It seems odd that the controlling group is now being criticised for proposing a change of name as it was not our idea originally, rater a Labour initiative that we were actually in favour of.”

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