Further to our post on the District Centre we would now like to take the opportunity to outline the situation with the Community Centre as we see it.
We have asked Crest, several times, to provide us with the feedback from the April exhibition but we still do not have it. This has made it difficult for us to know what parishioners may or may not want. It is against this background that we decided to use the Finchampstead Baptist Church (FBC) Centre as a template. We know that it works well, is very popular and is well run. In addition, we need where possible, to provide space for those users of the existing Community Centre in Sheerlands Road who wish to relocate. There are several existing users including two nursery schools.
Crest insist, understandably, that we maintain confidentiality until their final proposals are made public. However, there is one point of principle that we feel needs and can be discussed without compromising confidentiality. We need your feedback on this. It relates to the use of the legacy building. Some, not all, arguments for and against are as follows:
- Repurposing a building should always be the default option. It is the more environmentally friendly solution and minimises waste.
- It may or may/not be less expensive (We have asked Crest for costings but have not received anything).
- Repurposing may result in a ‘white elephant’ if the building constraints result in a facility that is not ‘fit for purpose’. Here is just one example:
A nursery school would occupy a significant amount of the available space and will, by its nature, be quite noisy. This may be not acceptable to other users. For example, it would not be feasible to have a Yoga Class next to a nursery school.
- The location of the legacy building, at the back of the site, is not ideal. The views out are generally poor. A new purpose-built community centre with a café and play area overlooking the meadow towards stables could be built. A nursery school could be housed in a separate building.
Barkham Parish Council have now been invited to a meeting with Crest on 8th November. We apologise for the short notice, but it would be very helpful if we could obtain some urgent feedback on the above (new vs legacy) prior to this meeting. Comments to the council can be made by post or via email to:
Finally, we would wish to stress that we have been working tirelessly, for some time, on the delivery of the Community Centre for the benefit of the residents of Arborfield Green and others. However, it is important to understand that we do not have any direct authority to affect either the timelines or the eventual outcome. We thank you for your support.
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