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Building Stronger Communities: Community Centres Strategy

04/09/2017 - Building Stronger Communities: Community Centres Strategy

Matter for Decision

In October 2015, the Executive Councillor for Communities, Arts & Recreation made a decision to undertake a strategic review of community provision. A full review was undertaken, including: an audit of existing facilities provided by a wide range of organisations; mapping of access to facilities across the city and analysis of where the greatest needs for community support exist.


In January 2017, the Executive Councillor for Communities approved a draft community centres strategy for consultation with stakeholders and the wider community on the draft proposals. This strategy set out to deliver a programme of support with the overarching theme of ‘Building Stronger Communities.’


The Officer’s report considered the results of that consultation exercise and set out actions to be carried out in pursuit of the strategy.


The Council would use the Building Stronger Communities Strategy and the data collected throughout this review, to inform future considerations for Section 106 / CIL funding.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Communities

The Executive Councillor agreed to:

       i.          Adopt the proposals relating to six centres as set out in the draft strategy, as follows:

·       2.1.1       Ross Street Community Centre – seek to lease the centre to a voluntary organisation, with an agreement to safeguard community use. If a suitable organisation cannot be found the Council will retain management of the centre. In order to deliver this proposal a delegation is proposed at 2.4.

·       2.1.2       Nun’s Way Pavilion – explore options for a suitable alternative community space, keeping the centre operational in the meantime. Once alternative space is found options for leasing the pavilion to a voluntary organisation will be explored. If none are viable, then the pavilion could be used for sports use only.

·       2.1.3       37 Lawrence Way - explore options for a suitable alternative community space, keeping the centre operational in the meantime. Once alternative community space is found the premises will be returned to Council housing stock.

·       2.1.4       82 Akeman Street - replace the community space as part of the proposed new housing project in this location in consultation with the community.

·       2.1.5       Brownsfield Youth & Community Centre - retain as a Council managed community centre, ensuring community access.

·       2.1.6       Trumpington Pavilion - continue to work with Trumpington Resident’s Association towards greater sustainability and independence.

     ii.          Modify the proposals set out in the draft strategy for two centres, as follows:

·       2.2.1       The Meadows Community Centre and Buchan Street Neighbourhood Centre – approve the completion of a full feasibility study for both centres, to explore with local groups, partners and centre users whether it is possible to deliver the community hub at the Meadows and to further explore options for Buchan Street. This feasibility work will need to consider:

§  practical development constraints, planning issues and financial feasibility;

§  detailed analysis of current uses of both centres and potential future partnership arrangements.

 iii.          Adopt the proposals as originally outlined in relation to meeting identified needs where there are gaps in provision

·       2.3.1 Abbey - continue to support County Council led work on redevelopment of a new centre on the East Barnwell Community Centre site.

·       2.3.2 Queen Edith’s - explore opportunities to work with existing facility providers in the north of the ward.

·       2.3.3 East Chesterton - explore opportunities in the north of the ward for new facility provision through growth.

·       2.3.4 Cherry Hinton - support the development of a community hub in Cherry Hinton Library with local partners, with the proviso that the County Council continue library services there and a sustainable management solution is found.

   iv.          Delegate the authority to deliver the proposals as required.

·       2.4.1       Ross Street:  Approve delegated authority to the Strategic Director following consultation with the Executive Councillor, Chair and Spokes to approve the selection process for a voluntary organisation to take on the management of Ross Street Community Centre (including community use requirements) and to approve the selection of a voluntary organisation in accordance with this process.

    v.          Report back to the Committee on progress with delivering the strategy, as described in the actions set out in Section 5 of the Officer’s report.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Community Funding & Development Manager.


Councillor Gillespie made the following comments in response to the report:

       i.          People had expressed frustration they could not say all they wanted in the consultation. This put some off. Future consultations should be braver in seeking information in future.

     ii.          There should have been a specific question asking if more facilities were required.


The Community Funding & Development Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

       i.          People had lots of opportunities to comment on community facilities such as email and face-to-face. This was in addition to the consultation. Officers encouraged people to respond as much as possible. The last consultation question was open to allow any other business.

     ii.          The aim of the consultation was to align resources with areas of high need and include the voluntary sector in the delivery.

   iii.          Results suggested that people valued existing facilities and there was not high demand for new ones. There was not a specific question asking this as the consultation did not wish to encourage demand for a service the City Council could not deliver due to lack of resources.

   iv.          Officers were working with the Web Team to produce an interactive map of facilities availability/location. This would be advertised when ready. Information ownership and management to ensure it was up to date would be looked at in future. Open data was another future consideration.

    v.          Market was not identified as an area of high need for community facilities before or during the consultation, but Petersfield was.

   vi.          Ross Street was identified as a valued facility. Management criteria would ensure the voluntary sector had the capacity to deliver or the City Council would retain management responsibility.

 vii.          Organisations could apply to become community facilities if they wished. Officers would review to ensure they did not compete with each other.


The Committee resolved by 7 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.