The way plans were cooked up in secret to shut Whittington’s youth club was a disgrace, it is claimed.
Not even the staff who ran the club were told it was to be scrapped.
They only found out by accident that the village’s notoriously secretive parish council was discussing the move with Staffordshire County Council (SCC).
Even then the parish council chairman continued fobbing off people who asked what was happening.
SCC claimed residents would be allowed to come together and keep the place going.
But the villagers said that turned out to be untrue when it seemed to them things had been rigged to make a takeover impossible.
County councillor Ben Adams said another home had been sought for the youth club.
Council claims nonsense
But when he refused to say where SCC had been looking it seemed to the residents that was also untrue.
Adams said the youth club buildings were in bad repair and could never be maintained by the villagers.
He added it would be too expensive for them to even try, but he refused to produce the figures he said proved it.
His claims were then rubbished by an experienced engineer who checked out the buildings.
He said they were in extremely good condition and could easily be managed at an affordable cost.
“You could move into the old school house and start using it tomorrow,” he said.
The only defects, he added, were minor and caused by SCC’s complete failure to carry out even the most basic maintenance.
The county council was also accused of rigging evidence it claimed showed the club had to shut because of low attendances.
Several young members had indeed walked out in protest.
Destroying the fun
That was because SCC began demanding their evening activities were tailored to the National Curriculum.
It seemed the councillors had deliberately intended to bore them out of the building.
But even that did not stop other youngsters using the club.
Youth club attendance
“Low attendance,” figures produced by SCC turned out to be taken from a week when the club was closed for decoration.
No attempt had been made to check the registers properly.
There is a huge and growing weight of evidence to show that Adams’ youth club closure was social vandalism.
Educators, academics and police psychologists say providing meeting places for young people is vital for their development and wellbeing.
Research shows that social interaction is crucial to a young person’s ability to develop self-esteem and become a productive member of society.
When Whittington youngsters put a case to their parish councillors for creating a gathering point for local youths they received a warm welcome.
Later the councillors kicked out the group’s idea in a move it seemed they had been planning all along.
Staffordshire Police are now urging people in Shenstone to create a youth club to curb alarming levels of anti-social behaviour in the village.