The centre, which costs £750,000, will provide a wide range of facilities and flexible space and is being built on land near Tesco Express in Leigh Park Local Centre, Westbury. The facility has been planned for over a decade, and this month residents are finally seeing the vision become a reality.
Leigh Park Community Association (LPCA) chairman John Rogers said, “This is a fantastic moment for us all – we have waited a long time and it is brilliant to see our hopes finally being made a reality.”
Funding for the centre has come mostly through a Section 106 planning agreement with Persimmon which is the principal developer on the 1,200-home Leigh Park development.
When the original outline planning permission for the development was granted in 1998, the requirement to provide a community centre formed part of the planning conditions agreed with Wiltshire Council (formerly West Wiltshire District Council).
In the following years, the project suffered from a number of setbacks. While funding for the main part of the building has been in place, the funding for the final section was only secured last year as part of further planning permission for new houses on Leigh Park. The building was also comprehensively redesigned to better suit the needs of local residents and a new revised planning agreement granted.
Other funds which will help fit out the centre with a state-of-the-art kitchen and catering facilities, have come from Wiltshire Council, Westbury Area Board, Community First and the Landfill Communities Fund. Work on the Leigh Park Community Centre is expected to be complete in November this year and a time capsule will be buried during its construction. LPCA chairman, John Rogers, says interest and bookings for the new hall are already rolling in from mothers and toddler groups to dance sessions, wedding receptions and health groups.
Local Wiltshire councillor Russell Hawker said, “This is a great example of people and organisations coming together for the benefit of the community. Leigh Park has needed this facility for a long time and I am confident it will be well used and appreciated by local residents as well as people living in other parts of the Westbury community area.” Wiltshire Council portfolio holder for communities Chris Williams chairs the steering group which is overseeing the community centre project. He said, “This has been a challenging project and it has come to fruition as a result of the hard work of Wiltshire Council and the partners involved.”
Contractor ISG is carrying out the work, and a Wiltshire Council project manager is working with the company to ensure all goes according to plan. ISG is an international construction services company whose latest high profile contract is the building of a narrow footway over one of London’s Olympic venues – the path will be suspended 5m above the roof of the O2 arena.
Anyone interested in booking the hall or in volunteering to be part of this community project should contact John on 01373 858377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. People can also find out more about the new centre on its Leigh Park Community Centre Facebook page.