St Albans community centre campaigners reach 1,000 signatures on petition

PUBLISHED: 12:53 17 July 2018

CASH outside St Albans district council offices. Pictrue: CASH

CASH outside St Albans district council offices. Pictrue: CASH


More than 1,000 people have signed a petition demanding a community hub is created for Sopwell and Cottonmill.

Janet Charles, vice chair of the Cottonmill and Sopwell Hub campaign (CASH), presented the names to St Albans district council (SADC) last week.

She told councillors that the area lacked community facilities – with no library, café or social club, very few shops and no central pub.

And she said residents in the area – one of the most deprived areas of the district – had identified the need for a community space.

She said: “We think that a purpose-built community hub would address some of the problems in our community but we needed to have the council on board to help us move this project forward.”

Activities for children and young people, for toddler play, for people with special educational needs and for the over-50s, she said, were among those that had been identified as needed.

The petition called on the council to provide the community hub in the Sopwell/Cottonmill area.

Chair of CASH, Michelle Mackenzie, added: “Our residents have been amazing.

“We’ve engaged with over 1,500 people at our numerous pop-up events, been talking with local groups, organisations, schools and their parent communities and have conducted a more in-depth survey of residents of all ages.

“Overwhelmingly people said they wanted a centre of some kind.”

CASH held five pop-up events on the Alban Way, spent a day speaking to Sainsbury’s shoppers, hosted a St George’s Day street party and a Father’s Day garden party at the Hare and Hounds.

The petition called for SADC to work in partnership with CASH to ensure that any facility meets the needs of the whole community; improving the quality of life for residents in an inclusive and sustainable way.

Janet said a number of groups had also been identified that would be willing to pay to use the facility, to ensure it was sustainable.

At the meeting SADC portfolio holder for commercial development, Cllr Julian Daly, said the council would continue to work with CASH and the Sopwell Community Trust.

Following the debate the petition was to be forwarded to Cllr Daly.

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A few years back I was fixing a shed in our garden and had enlisted the help of my young son. We were busy moving rotten pieces of wood from the side of the shed when suddenly I felt sharp stabbing pains in my lower legs. Before I had a chance to investigate my son started screaming in pain and it took a few more seconds to realize that we were trampling on a wasps’ nest!

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