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A new community centre for the north of Cambridge?

By Ben Comber

The concept picture of Clay Farm Centre - a similar community centre could be built in Arbury
The concept picture of Clay Farm Centre - a similar community centre could be built in Arbury

The city council is asking residents what they would like to see in a shake-up of council-run community centres.

The community services scrutiny committee will decide later this month whether a consultation will go forward in February that would gather people's thoughts on proposed changes to community centres around the city.

The overall aim is to improve the services and facilities available to those in the city with the greatest need.

The most ambitious idea being put forward is the construction of a new 'community hub' in Arbury that would serve the north of the city. It would effectively replace the council-run Meadows Community Centre and Buchan Street Community Centre in King's Hedges, and be comparable to the new Clay Farm Centre that was constructed for residents of Trumpington and Great Kneighton, which will open this year.

This would also include the potential to relocate some community services to this new hub, which would be a multi-storey facility, thus freeing up some land so the city can spend some of its £70m affordable housing money gained from devolution.

Other proposals include: Improving facilities at Akeman Street or a redevelopment site nearby, enhancing facilities in King's Hedges, meeting the needs of new communities coming to the city and addressing perceived gaps in provision of community facilities, namely in Abbey, Cherry Hinton, East Chesterton and Queen Edith's wards.

The city is also exploring the opportunity to allow voluntary organisations manage community centres, which officers say works well in other cities including Oxford. Plans are for Clay Farm Centre to be run by Trumpington Residents' Association, and plans would extend this scheme.

Cllr Richard Johnson, executive councillor for communities, said:"The detailed review that we have carried out has revealed that there is a real opportunity to improve services for residents by reviewing what we provide, where and how.

"In the coming months we will work closely with residents, groups and everyone who takes an interest in their community, to ensure that we continue to provide the right services people need to access within their local communities, which support our broader aim of 'Building Stronger Communities'.

Should the consultation go forward it will last for three months, with a final decision in June.


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