The Wokingham Paper

Wokingham line dance class could be forced out of business by ‘selfish’ workers

Wokingham Youth Community Centre
Wokingham Youth Community Centre

‘SELFISH’ council staff are being blamed for forcing businesses out of the Wokingham Youth and Community Centre.

Last week we told how a popular toddlers dance class was under threat after fed-up parents were unable to find spaces in the car park.

Andrea Bickford, who runs the class, has spent a year asking council bosses to clamp down on inconsiderate drivers who leave their vehicles all day for free.

Now Lorraine Thompson says the adult line dance she has run for the past 21 years could also be forced out.

And she says that it is council staff from the nearby borough offices that have practically taken over the car park.

“It seems the council workers and the council are saying, ‘We are OK, up yours’,” fumed Lorraine.

“What is the point of hiring a community centre where there is no car parking available? I watch council staff leave their vehicles here all day with no thought for those who use the centre.

“It is very frustrating. Over the years the situation has become worse and worse. No matter what we say to the council, they just don’t seem to care.”

Lorraine currently runs a Friday morning class and would like to add a second day but says the current situation makes it impossible.

“People travel from Hurst, Finchampstead and Lower Earley and most of them are elderly, so they need to use their cars.

“I have had to come out and direct traffic and try to keep a space for them, but it is not easy and I shouldn’t have to do it.

“I have a long connection with the centre and want to remain, but I am now looking at other venues outside of Wokingham.

“The people who come to my classes do so for the exercise but also because it is a social event. We organise coffee mornings and days out which are very popular but now all those are under threat.”

Andrea, who has used the centre for the past five years, said she and Lorraine were angry council bosses had failed to find a solution to the problem.

“Selfish drivers leaving their cars means anybody using the hall during the middle of the day have got no hope of finding a parking space.

“The council keep telling me that they are powerless to dictate who uses the car park and don’t seem able, or indeed willing, to do anything about the problem.”

A spokesperson for Wokingham Borough Council said: “We understand the parking issues at the Wokingham Youth and Community Centre and have written to council staff asking that they respect other users and only park in the small number of spaces that are allocated to specific council teams.”

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