Concern over ICA future

LEADING lights at the Ipswich Caribbean Association fear it could be forced out of its home as its annual grant is not being paid this year.

LEADING lights at the Ipswich Caribbean Association fear it could be forced out of its home as its annual grant is not being paid this year.

The decision the grant is to be examined by councillors amid fears that that the club's town centre site may be turned into flats.

ICA suspects that the borough council, which owns the building in Woodbridge Road, wants the organisation to find an alternative site by forcing it into financial difficulties.

The council executive earlier this month voted to withhold its annual cash support which is vital to enable ICA to keep functioning.


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However, the opposition Labour group has challenged the decision and has forced consideration of the reasons to be examined at a meeting of the council's scrutiny committee.

Opposition leader David Ellesmere said the council did not conduct an equality impact assessment prior to deciding to withhold the �50,000 grant and that members of the executive were not given “a true and thorough” analysis of ICA's financial position.

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“The executive appears to have given no thought to what impact of closing down the building will have on the community services which take place at Woodbridge Road,” says Mr Ellesmere.

“Labour believes that the executive may have been unduly influenced by the fact that the ICA building is currently designated for housing in the draft local development framework which is to be considered by the council in September.”

The decision not to pay the grant was taken behind closed doors and Albert Grant, treasurer of the association and a borough councillor, said: “I suspect the council wants us to move and that is why they are withholding the cash - and by doing so, the finances of the ICA have been badly hit.

“It's great news that the decision will now be subjected to the council's scrutiny process. We need all the help we can muster.”

Council portfolio holder Nadia Cenci denied the council is trying to force the ICA to move. She said: “The council has given the organisation �1m in the past 10 years.

“For 14 months, we have tried to find a solution to their funding but it is time it became sustainable and not dependant on the council. We are not saying ICA should cease to exist, we simply need to ensure our grant is spent wisely.”

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