Fleetville community centre given go-ahead for major refurb
- Credit: SADC
A major redevelopment project for an ageing 1940s community centre has received the green light.
Fleetville Community Centre, in Royal Road, was only meant to be a “temporary” structure, and despite efforts by the charitable trust that runs it, is in a poor structural condition and expensive and inefficient to heat.
The district council, which owns the site, will soon be starting discussions with the Charity Commission about plans to create an enhanced centre which can better meet the needs of local people.
This will involve drawing up concept designs and costs for a larger, more energy-efficient and sustainable building.
This includes a main hall, three or more meeting rooms, a children’s suite, café, kitchen, toilets and an outdoor space.
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Climate control assets would include solar panels, heat pumps, water harvesting devices, electric vehicle charging points and green walls or roof.
The project will be financed by developing a corner of the existing site for housing, or using revenue from development projects elsewhere in the district.
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Cllr Robert Donald, portfolio holder for commercial, development and wellbeing, said: “Fleetville Community Centre was originally built as a day nursery for women in the area who were working in nearby munitions factories in the Second World War.
“However, it is not only clear that a new modern building is needed, but that it must be considerably larger to cope with the increasing demand and diverse population in the area for the services on offer.
“We are determined to deliver a first-class and inclusive community centre that will meet the needs of local people of all ages, cultures and interests; a centre that will also be equipped with the best and most up to date climate change sustainability features such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting.
“The project will require an enabling development to provide finance towards the overall construction costs and we will now be looking at the best options for that.
“We will continue to consult with residents, user groups and the Fleetville Community Centre Trust which runs the facility as we regenerate the site to ensure the new facility meets the needs of the whole community in this area of St. Albans.
“We will particularly have to hold talks now with the Charity Commission as soon as possible to seek their agreement to our proposed redevelopment project and means of funding this.”
Trevor Parsons, chair of the Fleetville Community Centre Trust, added: “We are delighted to partner the council to replace the existing building which has done sterling service and is held in great affection by the community for over nearly 80 years.”
Among the activities that normally take place at the centre are a children’s playgroup and kindergarten, Painting for Pleasure, National Autistic Society family support sessions, yoga, Weight Watchers and an accordion club. More information can be found here: www.fleetville.org.uk.