A rallying cry has gone out to Carnoustie residents amid fears of council plans to close the Panmure Centre.
In less than a week a group of women who use the centre have raised around 700 signatories for a petition to keep it open.
But independent councillor Bill Bowles said the local authority’s hands might be tied because of the policy to freeze council tax.
Three women who attend the centre’s computer classes have received support for their campaign to keep the building open and available for community use.
Cecilia Slater, 54, said: “Nobody has said it is shutting, but we have heard rumours. We’re not stupid we know it is an older building that needs work on it, but we really don’t want it to close.”
Mr Bowles said their efforts are inspirational and supports their cause, but he said the council is fighting a losing battle as long as there is a freeze on any council tax increases.
He said: “Nothing has been decided, but it (the Panmure Centre) is under threat.
“As a local independent councillor, I want to make sure that if we do lose what we have we are able to replace it with as good, if not better, elsewhere. The big issue is that councils are running very, very efficiently and Angus Council has got to the stage where all the fat has been trimmed and we are now cutting into the meat and bone of our services. That is unacceptable.
“This council tax freeze cannot continue. I have spoken with many people locally and they tell me that they don’t want to lose their local community facilities.
“People are saying ‘look, put up our council tax so we can continue to do the things that we want to do’.
“People are prepared to pay another couple of quid a week on their council tax to ensure their facilities are saved and not lost for good.”
Objectors argue any closure would hurt Carnoustie, the town’s west end in particular.
The building hosts a pre-school group and nursery, as well as a mother and toddler group, young adults group and various education and life skills classes. Many other groups use the building on an ad hoc basis.
At the computer class yesterday, they were creating their own Facebook page to support the campaign.
Joan Ramsay, 88, said the class rescued her from isolation at home.
She said: “I saw the advert, I came along and they just accepted me. I hadn’t worked a computer before. Let’s face it, at my age it’s a godsend.”
They are appalled at the thought of the centre closing, as they believe it provides a lifeline of services and support to so many in the community.
The nursery and pre-school group, a council-funded charitable organisation, has operated out of the former Panmure Works Institute for more than a generation.
It has a register of 42 two to five-year-olds.
The group’s manager, Vicky Gallacher, places great stock in the nursery’s role within the community.
She said: “We feel they can’t close us down unless we have somewhere else to go. Children can come to this building as toddlers and continue to use it up until the age of 18 and thereafter.
“We want to be part of a community centre and not a nursery on its own.”
Mr Bowles worries about further services being removed from the town, particularly if it only serves to boost the local housing stock.
He said: “The petition shows the depth of feeling of the people of Carnoustie. We need guarantees before any decision is taken about the loss of community facilities.”
A council spokesman said: “While we are exploring options for the building, we are not looking to withdraw services from Carnoustie.
“We will work with the current users to find an alternative venue if we do move out of the building.”