A CALL to arms has been issued to residents in a bid to save a centre at the heart of village life.

The Barlow in Edgworth is in desperate needs of funds to repair the roof and preserve the building for future generations ­— and trustees had hoped to cover the cost through a public works loan.

But North Turton Parish Council has refused to support it ­— without its backing the loan cannot be obtained. Now acting chairman, Cllr Steve Danks has issued a rallying cry for residents to attend a meeting of the parish council in a bid to fight the decision.

Cllr Danks said that unless the roof is not repaired, the future of the centre could be thrown in doubt ­— so much so it could close in a few years.

He said: “This loan would not provide any financial risk to the parish council, I am actually on the parish council and am fighting this as the acting chair of the trustees. The priority is the roof, there are holes in the roof and damp in the building, some rooms have restricted.

“The Barlow is a focal point of the village, it has been a part of village life from more than 100 years. We want residents to attend the meeting to voice their opinion.”

The Barlow puts on cultural and social events for all ages thanks to the work of volunteers.

Cllr Danks said the trustees ­— all volunteers ­— were being supported in their fight by the local authority and their local MP.

“The parish council say it has taken legal advice and cannot support it, but we are fighting it,” he said.

Trustees are hoping for a loan of £250,000 and use some of their reserves to pay for the roof.

“It is a fantastic facility," said Cllr Danks, who is also using social media to urge people to attend the meeting.

Parish council minutes state that a resident expressed concern about the legal advice given to the Parish Council and that if it “sought the views of of the community, then it would have the support it needed for the loan".

The minutes also add: “It was pointed out that the parish council has no legal power to take out a loan in order to make a donation to a charitable organisation and that if it did, it would be acting beyond its powers and could be challenged in the courts, in which case the parish councillors would be individually liable.”

This argument was contested by Cllr Danks. The meeting will take place on Monday, October 7 at 7.30pm at The Barlow.