TRUSTEES at the Toothill Community Centre have hit out at the group tasked with allocating money for its renovation.

In 2010, the area was one of 150 across the UK to get a share of £200m from The Big Lottery.

Toothill received £1m which needs to be spent by 2025. A group known as Toothill Big Local has been tasked with overseeing the distribution of the cash

TBL launched a consultation last year to find out what residents wanted their money to be spent on and a refurbished community centre came out on top.

But disputes about how the centre will be overhauled and who will be responsible for overseeing it have made for slow progress.

The community centre’s trustees have now gone further, accusing TBL of trying to force them out of the picture.

Jane Francis, one of the trustees, said: “The local residents’ number one priority will only be acceptable to them if they administer the project themselves.

“We have seen a document from TBL which proposes that they ‘improve and manage’ the community centre.

“This totally ignores the fact that the trustees are secure tenants who, according to Swindon Borough Council, are running the centre ‘more efficiently than it has been for years’.

“Our right to manage the centre and the refurbishment has been acknowledged previously by TBL and other authorities, but rumours are circulating that TBL have stated that they will not give one penny to the community centre trustees. It is not their money to give.

“The proposal also contains future plans for Toothill Farmhouse and the village pub which would give TBL total control of all of the community facilities in Toothill.”

A spokesman for TBL said: “We are governed by the National Local Trust Programme with the aim of investing in viable and sustainable local projects which the community has identified and supports.

“This involves establishing and working with the relevant stakeholders and decision makers in assessing the community benefits and legacy of such investments in conjunction with the optimum delivery process.

“The TBL Partnership has yet to agree the best way forward for the programme in Toothill.”

The Adver understands that the rationale behind TBL’s proposals is that with the correct co-ordination, the area’s regeneration could be an ongoing project with the possibility of applying for additional funding and not just a one-off spend of lottery money. They want to set up a community interest organisation to progress those goals.

It appears that TBL asked the community centre trustees to participate but their offer has not yet been taken up.

The trustees said they wished to take the regeneration of the community centre forward themselves but no business plan or formal proposal - an important part of the lottery governance process - has been put forward.

As a result, TBL is exploring options for the project.