Campaigners fighting to save a day centre are gearing up for the meeting where they will present the council with the biggest petition in its history.
More than 6,000 people have now signed the petition calling for Wellingborough Council to reconsider its decision to close Glamis Hall.
The Telegraph reported last week that council leader Paul Bell had agreed to start the process of calling for an extraordinary meeting of the full council where the petition would be debated.
It has been announced this week that the meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 2.
Heather Sanders, a member of the campaign group, said: “We know this is the biggest petition that’s ever been taken in Wellingborough.
“The extraordinary meeting is the first one ever.
“We are pretty blown away.
“We have been stopping people to sign the petition but an awful lot of people have been coming over without us having to say anything.”
Next month’s meeting means there is still time for the campaign group to increase the number of names on the petition and prepare themselves for the debate over the closure.
Heather said: “We will continue to collect up until that date and then we will present it to the council.
“A few of us will speak at the debate with the council from various different angles.
“What we are hoping for from the council meeting is to get the decision overturned and a stay of execution until at least the end of next year and then we are going to explore funding.
“It would be best if the council ran it, but if they really won’t run it then I think we need to see what’s around to take it over as a community facility.
“From a day centre point of view, we need a day centre in the town.
“It’s a big town, it’s not a small place.
“The borough has 75,000 people and is growing.
“Care for the elderly really does make a difference.”
Heather’s mum is one of 180 people who attend the day centre and she goes there three days a week, allowing some respite for her daughter.
She says the campaigners feel so strongly about fighting to keep the day centre open that they are looking at ways to keep it open themselves if they are unsuccesful in getting the council to reconsider.
She added: “We are starting to look at some form of feasibility study, to see what funding is out there and what changes we would need to make to make it sustainable.”
Another consideration is the decision being called in for judicial review, and there’s also the possibility of some campaigners standing as councillors in the future.
Heather said: “We are serious enough that some members of the group are thinking of standing as councillors at the next election.
“We really think that these people on the council have let us down and some of us are prepared to stand.”
Campaigners will be collecting more names on the petition in the coming weeks, including in Wellingborough town centre on Friday and Saturday.
If you want to get involved with the campaign email email@example.com.
How the decision was made
Wellingborough Council’s resources committee made a unanimous cross-party decision on June 24 to close Glamis Hall.
This decision was based on the recommendation of the Glamis Hall Working Party and was endorsed by the full council on July 22.
The committee agreed to instruct officers to investigate ways of accessing similar services to those currently offered at Glamis Hall and to report back in September.
They say the decision was made after the working party spent two years looking at refurbishing the hall or moving the day centre to another suitable building.
It concluded all options were too costly so recommended the closure.
But supporters have criticised the authority for going ahead with the decision without consultation.
Campaigner Heather Saunders said: “What does annoy me is the lack of consultation, there has been no consultation. They have said there’s no consultation because there’s no options.”
A section on the council’s website regarding the future of Glamis Hall states: “Consultation is only meaningful if there are viable options for people to choose from.”