A protest petition is strongly opposing a proposal to knock down Dunstable’s Downside Community Centre and sell part of a recreation ground.
Dunstable Town Council has been consulting on the idea of “a small area” of Downside’s recreation ground being sold to a housing association.
The project could involve 31 homes being built there.
And the council says the scheme would make it “financially viable” to transform the remaining two-thirds of the recreation land into “significantly improved” open space.
But one protestor, town councillor Roger Pepworth, says: “Tarting up a playground is no substitute for a community centre.”
During consultation on the concept, the council said the project would involve better play facilities for children, large open areas for sports and games, new allotments and a dog-walking track.
It said that the improvements would be “a major contribution to the wellbeing of the existing community”.
But Mr Pepworth has organised a petition calling for a rethink.
The petition, just launched, has more than 100 signatures so far.
It calls on the town council to have a change of heart over the proposals to demolish the community centre and sell part of the recreation land.
And it also calls for the council to “seek other sources of funding” to improve the recreation area.
Mr Pepworth said: “That community centre is now in daily use. There is a youth club there.
“There is a weekly Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme running. It has mums and toddlers groups. It is running a holiday programme for children.”
He said that the community centre serves a very deprived area.
And the councillor said the site is in an environmentally sensitive area, beside Blow’s Downs, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Mr Pepworth said: “I would like to see a decision made in the long term to enhance and improve the community centre.”
> The petition will go online soon. In the meantime, anyone wishing to sign can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A public exhibition has already been run on the project concept.
Consultation boards can still be seen via www.prparchitects.co.uk/downside.
A planning application may be submitted later this year.