Memories of the Wells Centre

In this first instalment of our series of blogs titled ‘Memories of The Wells’, Ian Strutt talks to Melanie Evason, a long term Wells resident, and jogs a memory of his own.

New generation being deprived of the Wells Centre

Long term Wells resident Melanie Evason has attended events at the Wells Social Centre since the days when it was just a wooden shack, writes Ian Strutt.

Now, she has a new generation of grandchildren who are being deprived of using the present centre’s facilities since it was closed by Epsom and Ewell Residents Association Council some five years ago.

Melanie clearly recalls all of the events that were held at the Wells centre in her younger days. She attended the centre for Brownies, youth club, the playground, film nights, birthdays, summer and Christmas fairs, along with a long list of other events.

These events even included holding her wedding reception at the centre, which is conveniently situated just around the corner from her home.

“I would go to many events, functions, meetings and sessions, also Women’s Institute, being held. This includes voting in council and government elections, also discussions on matters affecting the Wells such as the former RA councillor’s ridiculous yellow lines application that was rebuffed.

“I loved everything about the place. It was just our centre and we did everything there. It would be great to see the centre re-open. It was always so well attended.”

‘Too many wedding venues in Epsom’

Former venues boss

Jogging a memory

The reference Melanie Evason made to having held her wedding reception at the Wells Social Centre prompted me to remember a conversation I had with Epsom Council’s former Head of Venues, writes Ian Strutt.

He was guarding the doors of the centre to stop Wells residents entering during a rowdy protest outside against its closure. I have to report that I was not at all impressed by him.

I asked him: “Why are there no longer any wedding receptions being held at the centre?”

He lamely replied: “There are too many wedding venues in Epsom.”

I got the feeling that wedding bookings were being diverted to other council-owned properties.

The next time I encountered this Head of Venues was not long afterwards at an equalities meeting in the council chamber. He was giving a report on the closure of the centre which mostly amounted to a justification of the council’s actions.

He talked about there being a lack of members, but it appears that the majority of Wells residents had never been asked to become members. Certainly, there were no membership forms available on the reception desk when I attended.

Wouldn’t expanding membership have been one of the roles of the Head of Venues?

However, he gave away the Wells Centre’s actual monthly attendance figures. From memory, these were six or seven times membership. So, the council was simply pulling a ‘fast one.’

I’m told this Head of Venues no longer works for Epsom and Ewell council.

Meanwhile, the council-owned Bourne Hall is reported to have increased its losses from £500,000 to £750,000 a year.

If you have memories of the Wells Centre and would be happy to share them with us, please contact us here

Flower photo created by prostooleh –

Please note all opinions are the author’s own and are not those of EWCA. If you would like to submit a blog outlining what the centre meant to you, or how it could be used in the future please contact us.

Epsom Wells Community Association

To find out more about EWCA and our campaign to reopen The Wells Centre, please send us an email or join our email list.

Published by epsomwellscommunityassociation

The Epsom Wells Community Association (EWCA) was set up by Epsom Wells residents committed to reopening and running the Epsom Wells Centre.

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