5th July 2022
Anger is building from local residents over the way the Council are reneging on their promise to build a temporary community facility for the 3 years before the new community hall is built.
As part of the regeneration of the Cambridge Road Estate, Piper Hall, the current community hall, will be demolished in the first phase (August/September 2022) and a new community facility built in Phase 1 of 5 phases of regeneration stretching over a decade. The new community facility would not be available for three years. To ensure community activities were not brought to a halt, residents were promised a temporary community facility.
Lib Dems and Developers Reneging on the promise:
The plan now is, instead of building a temporary community facility, to offer CRE the use of Queen Mary Hall which is across the Cambridge Road in the Cambridge Garden Estate. This is not acceptable to the CRE Resident’s Association because:
- it reneges on the agreement to build temporary community facilities
- it will mean an excessive demand on Queen Mary Hall with all the groups from the Cambridge Garden Estate and other groups serving the local community (e.g. youth clubs, MOT – a peer lead group serving hot dinners and advice to those with addiction and mental health illnesses): many groups will not be able to use the Hall or all groups will have to reduce their use of the Hall to the detriment of the local community.
- the facilities in Queen Mary Hall are, and will be, inadequate for meal preparation – a weekly offer in Piper Hall, and there is a lack of storage space (meaning everything has to be carried across the road, especially problematic for the food bank run from Piper Hall).
Refurbishment of Queen Mary Hall
Many of the groups using Queen Mary Hall did not operate during covid lockdown and the Hall was effectively closed. However, it remains closed due to an imminent refurbishment. As Countryside Partnerships (the joint developer of CRE) are involved in the refurbishment, this appears to be part of the CRE development. The original plan appears to have been to start refurbishment in September but the plans for this seem to be fluid. There is no definite start or finish date.
At a meeting of users on 29th June 2022, the plans were discussed but the detail of the kitchen was not available. From the plans available it does not look as if the kitchen will be big enough for the preparation of meals and storage space will be at a premium. With Piper Hall about to be demolished and refurbishment of Queen Mary Hall not yet planned, even if transferring all events that take place in Piper Hall to Queen Mary Hall were a half adequate solution, there will inevitably be a hiatus in community provision.
Support for residents is Labour’s number one priority. This promise has been broken so soon after the 2022 Borough elections. The Lib Dems have form for this. Right after the 2018 Borough elections, the Lib Dems reneged on a promise to set up a review to look at water charges refunds for council tenants. In fact, they pursued a council tenant through the courts and lost the case.