OPPONENTS of a plan to sell a day centre for adults with learning difficulties are to hold a demonstration outside its gates. 

They will gather outside the Tudor Centre in Abergavenny at 1pm this Wednesday, December 7 with the organiser saying the intention is to raise awareness of the decision by Monmouthshire County Council to close the former school as a support base for the north of the county. 

The council has agreed the permanent closure and plan to sell the centre for affordable housing even though an ongoing review of its My Day My Life support services for adults with learning difficulties is yet to report back. The council fears a change in planning rules next June could scupper any redevelopment of the site so has agreed to move quickly.

Owen B Lewis, a former support worker at the centre, who is organising Wednesday’s protest said the decision has taken many by surprise. 

He said: “The intention is to raise awareness of the importance of protecting this building, because we do not believe many people actually know about its closure. It is so vital as a hub for the community, particularly some of the most marginalised groups around.” 

The Labour cabinet member for social care, Abergavenny Park councillor Tudor Thomas, agreed to its permanent closure last week and that the site should be “re-purposed” to provide affordable housing. 

Though the review of support for adults with learning difficulties isn’t due to report back until March social services chiefs have said they consider the centre is no longer suitable and the numbers using it, before its temporary closure in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, had dropped to some six or 10 people. The council says it is also providing more support at home and elsewhere in the community. 

But Mr Lewis said he believes the true demand for the centre hasn’t been reflected and said that he had put forward a suggestion to some councillors on how the centre could be used. 

He said: “The plan to sell seems to have been made without anyone’s knowledge. These specific councillors didn’t know about the planned sell-off until I told them, and I myself only found out when it was reported in the newspaper.” 

At Wednesday’s protest it’s hoped those who have previously used the centre will speak about its importance to them. 

“The Tudor Centre is slap bang in the middle of the community and could benefit so many people in Abergavenny and service users and their families have all said they do not want to lose it and see it close,” said Mr Lewis. 

He added that local residents also feel they have been kept in the dark on the potential new housing development and he is expecting some of them to also support the protest. 

The decision to close the Tudor Centre has also been criticised by the leader of Monmouthshire council’s Conservative opposition group. 

Councillor Richard John, who represents Mitchel Troy and Trellech, told the full council: “The decision was done quietly without any scrutiny and we are due some answers on that.”