Council to consider plan to build new community hub

medway centre, huntingdon,

medway centre, huntingdon, - Credit: Archant

Controversial plans to build a new community centre in a public park in Huntingdon have been unveiled – despite a backlash from some residents.

The Medway Centre site portrayed on the site of Coneygear Park

The Medway Centre site portrayed on the site of Coneygear Park - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon Town Council has announced a proposal that could see a new hub built in Coneygear Park, replacing the Medway Centre, which is located in Medway Road.

Despite a public meeting last year, which saw more than 100 residents of the Oxmoor and users of the Medway Centre air their fears, the council is proposing to construct the hall on part of the 26-acre park.

“The town council is committed to having a community centre in that part of the town,” town clerk Philip Peacock told a meeting of the planning committee on Thursday.

Members of the public, who attended the meeting, were divided in their views but the majority called for a rethink of the proposal.

“We feel there is a better place where the Medway Centre can go, rather than on the only big open space we have got for the residents of that area,” resident Amanda Norton said.

Committee chairman, Councillor Sarah Gifford added: “If we went to buy another piece of land somewhere else we wouldn’t have the money to build the building - that money would go to purchase the land so we wouldn’t have enough money.”

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Members were also urged by resident and centre user Ruth Butler to rethink a refurbishment of the Medway Centre.

She said: “Would the world come to and an end if it [the Medway Centre] closed for 12 months?” According to the town council, the cost to refurbish the Medway Centre would stand at about £650,000, but it has already been given £300,000 and offered a loan of £800,000 to build a new community centre by the district council.

At the meeting it was also revealed that Amazing Grace Church, which is currently running from the Commemoration Hall, has expressed an interest in taking over the Medway Centre if a new centre is built.

The plans will go to the council’s leisure committee at a later date for further discussion and comments from councillors.