It was good to see a large turnout for this month’s meeting, including David Hayes, one of our Borough Councillors.
The meeting opened with a welcome and introduction from the GPC Secretary. Thanks was given to all those who had taken the time to put forward questions in preparation for the meeting. A special thanks was made to the Grange Park Residents Association, who have been raising awareness of the project online, and have gathered some questions for the group to answer.
The questions raised prior to the meeting formed the basis for workshops that we ran during the evening. The aim of the workshops was to help shape the Centre and ensure it will be as good a neighbour as possible, and ensure that it will bring the biggest benefit to the community.
It was explained that after the meeting, a full list of the questions and responses would be available on the Grange Park Centre website (here). A few printed copies were made available for those without internet access.
A project update was provided, explaining that a planning application has been submitted for the Centre (copies of the plans were available to view during the workshop) and that the Stage 3 Lottery Application had also been submitted.
The Secretary explained that the working group had been looking at other community centres, opening hours and exploring the models available to run the GPC. The GPC team was unable to say exactly how the centre would operate, what hours it will operate and what specific activities will take place – highlighting that these points cannot be finalised until it is definite that the building is going ahead. Consultation has highlighted that activities for young people, older people, exercise classes, advice, training, business facilities, and counselling are important. The planning application states the maximum opening hours as 8am to 10:30pm, seven days a week, but hours will vary depending on bookings.
The meeting then split the attendees into three groups, each with a facilitator and trustee to answer specific questions.
- What excites you about the centre and how it could be used?
- What might happen inside the centre?
- What might happen in the area around the centre?
Flip charts were provided in each group, pre-populated with the comments/concerns raised prior to the meeting. The facilitators asked the groups to explain more about the concern, and suggest ways it could be overcome/mitigated – providing a good list to consider in our plans going forward. Notes were taken in each of the workshop groups.
The meeting closed by bringing everyone in attendance back together, thanking everyone for their contributions and explaining that the working group would review the ideas and suggestions collated from the groups and incorporate these and continue to address any concerns as the project moves forward, in particular mitigating for ASB and parking.
It was explained that in 2018, public GPC meetings would be held on alternative months to allow the working group to focus on the increased time needed for the project. Outwoods Edge Primary School had been unable to confirm the room bookings for 2018 at that time; it was stated that these dates would be publicised online when confirmed.
Updates would continue through the usual channels, including email, website and social media. If residents are not receiving emails, it was suggested they check their junk email folder; the working group have provided answers to all the emails that have been received.
Following the meeting, the next meeting date has been confirmed as Wednesday, 28 February 2018.