Council condemn Golden Boy Green blaze

Published: 5th Feb 2009

Please note this is an archived Press Release

REDCAR & Cleveland Borough Council has today condemned an arson attack that has gutted a South Bank community centre and put the building's future in doubt.

Distraught community workers watched in horror early today as 20 firefighters took just over an hour to control the blaze at the Golden Boy Green Community Centre on Normanby Road.

Linda Fleetham, manager of South Bank Tomorrow, the group which manages the centre, was called to the scene at 3am and said: "It's taken 20 minutes to ransack the building and undo four years work and dedication. It's heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking."

The Council was today trying to assess the damage, already estimated at costing a six-figure sum, and organise contingency plans for the groups who use the centre in a packed weekly programme.

The Council's Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources Councillor Peter Scott said: "This is a tragedy for the community. This has been such a worthwhile facility, and it's been destroyed. How do you explain that?

"I'm just so sorry for everyone who has played a part in its success. But I can assure everyone: We will be back. This will be a phoenix that rises from the ashes.

Linda explained: "I have lived and worked for this community all my life. It's taken four years to get to this stage where we are engaging the total community.

"There's training courses, support groups for families, benefits advice - it doesn't matter who they are, everyone's treated fairly. And it's so busy, something happening every day. So this is just so devastating. It really hasn't hit me yet.

The Council hopes to temporarily relocate South Bank Tomorrow into the town's Generation Centre and is asking any groups who use the Centre and want up-to-date information to call 01642 776921.

Cleveland Police has confirmed it is treating the blaze as "suspicious" and is urging anyone with information to call 01642 302626.

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