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Community centre row goes on
TWO community groups in East Harnham that are at loggerheads over how to spend a £300,000 fund are pressing on with their own plans, despite the fact they are in direct opposition to each other.
The East Harnham Community Association (EHCA) wants the funding, provided by developer Persimmon Homes, to go towards the construction of a new centre for the area.
But residents living close to the proposed site by The Crescent, Downton Road, say there are enough community halls already and the money should be spent on existing facilities. At a meeting on Monday, the Osmund Fields and Rowbarrow Residents Association (OFRRA) presented the results of a survey it carried out on the issue, showing two thirds of residents want the money to go towards supporting existing community facilities.
Mark Mullin, OFRRA treasurer, said: “The residents have been very clear in this process as to what their wishes are, and we call upon our elected representatives in the council to listen and act on that.”
However, the EHCA, which was not officially represented at the meeting, has questioned the validity of the OFRRA survey, saying “less than half” of East Harnham was contacted.
EHCA secretary David Stone, said: “We didn’t think it was appropriate for us to attend the meeting because the main purpose was to discuss alternative uses of the money provided by the developer.
“At the moment we are still working on the idea that a hall is needed and we would want to exhaust that process before we think of anything else.
“The plans for the new hall are being drawn up and when they are ready we will hold a consultation involving everyone in the area before submitting an application for planning permission.”
Residents living by the proposed site are also concerned about losing a green space used by children in the area. Paul Taylor of Osmond Fields said: “It’s a totally inappropriate site to put a garden shed let alone a community centre.
“A community centre isn’t about a building, it’s about the people, and the people who use that space are the kids – in today’s society, there are very few parks that they can do that in safety but they can do there and it’s free.”