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No detail yet on centre bid
A PARISH council has expressed frustration at the length of time it is taking to put together plans to run a community centre in Redhouse.
Land has been purchased by Swindon Council and a lease is available but details on how the centre will operate need to be ironed out before any work can begin.
Blunsdon Parish Council has said it wants to run the centre but at the moment is unable to reach an agreement with ward councillors. The prolonged issue has already led to one member of the parish council resigning.
However, local councillor Vera Tomlinson said talks have been ongoing and people will get a community centre.
It is believed everything must be agreed by the start of the new financial year, which is April 1, or the offer by the council of the lease and to build the centre will expire.
The land, in the heart of Redhouse, has been purchased from developers Crest at a discounted rate following negotiations by Coun Vera Tomlinson (Con, St Andrews).
But despite this, progress has slowed and there are worries it may not happen.
Parish council chairman Ian Jankinson said: “We thank Coun Tomlinson for all the work she has put in with the community centre and we are pleased to have been nominated by the borough council to accept the lease and run the community centre with the residents and users.
“We look forward to working with and for the Redhouse community to create a facility that will enhance and improve this part of our parish.
“However, we are currently frustrated by the delay in getting together with the ward councillors to agree the best way forward to build and run a much-needed facility.
“We have made concessions to the ward councillors in their desire to be involved and welcome their involvement in the process.”
Blunsdon Parish Council has budgeted for the coming year to include some of the set-up costs but needs to discuss the detail and find out exactly what the residents and users want from the centre.
Ian said: “I can’t understand what is taking so long to agree – we need to set up a steering group with users, residents and advisers to ensure the project is set up in the best possible way.
“The talking and prevarication is over and we just need to get on with the planning.”
Coun Tomlinson said work is being carried out behind the scenes and an announcement is expected soon as to the future of the centre.
She said: “A lot of work has been put into the community centre. I had a lot of meetings with Crest to get the land at half price.
“As a ward, we are very unlikely to get this amount of money again so we carried out a consultation and the overwhelming response was for a community centre.
“I am hoping to be able to tell the public about a decision shortly.”