Spalding housing estate ‘needs a heart’

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A COMUNITY centre could be on the cards to provide a “heart” for a growing housing estate – but only if residents get behind it.

A public meeting is likely to be held later this year to gauge the interest of people living on Spalding’s Wygate Park in providing a hub where local groups could meet, as well as other social activities such as parties and church gatherings.

It is hoped the venue could bring together neighbours on the huge estate which currently lacks a sense of community, according to South Holland district councillor for the Wygate ward Roger Gambba-Jones.

He said: “It always takes time to build up a sense of community on large housing estates like this and I think Wygate Park is yet to become a community.

“It is a large housing estate without a heart at the moment, and as much as I would like to say differently that is not likely to change until we get somewhere where people can meet in a relaxed atmsophere.”

He and fellow ward councillor Christine Lawton are now working together to plan a meeting, possibly in September, where residents could outline their ideas for a community centre.

The issue of a community centre on Wygate Park has reared its head now as the ten-year deadline for spending S106 money provided by the developer for the purpose is due to expire in 2014 and Kier Homes has approached South Holland District Council about possible plans.

But Coun Gambba-Jones said a community centre will not go ahead without the community’s backing as a committee would need to be set up to run it and ensure it paid for itself, as the district council would not provide cash for its upkeep.

He said: “The developers have firmly put the ball in our court so we need to find out if the community wants a centre.

“It may sound simple, but often the upkeep of a community centre comes from revenue from parties and weddings, for example, but that can bring with it issues of noise and disturbance, so it needs careful consideration.

“We will be letting people know about a meeting in due course, so residents can let us know what they think.”

l What are your views? Email spaldingeditor@jpress.co.uk