Opinions divided over future of Summertown community centre

David Potts

David Potts

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

OPINIONS are divided about whether a Summertown community centre should be knocked down and replaced.

People have been quizzed on an Oxford City Council suggestion to replace the North Oxford Association (NOA) centre, as part of the redevelopment of Diamond Place.

But two separate surveys, one by the council and one by the NOA, have come out with entirely different results on whether people want the centre replaced or want it to stay as it is.

The NOA centre, which has 600 members, is used by people in Summertown for activities including yoga, language lessons, lunch clubs and babysitting courses.

According to results published by the council, 68 per cent of respondents voted in favour of building a new community centre.

But the council said the NOA had submitted its own survey, which showed just 13 of 141 people it asked wanted a new building.

NOA chairman David Potts said: “We have made our view quite clear on this.

“The feeling amongst members was overwhelmingly for the community centre to not be included (in the Diamond Place redevelopment plans).”

Mr Potts added: “It would be great to be relocated to a permanent position with more space, but in reality it would prove very disruptive.

“The last experience we had of this was during a refurbishment when we had to vacate the premises and use a Portacabin and Cutteslowe Park for activities.”

The local authority owns the centre, but it is managed by NOA.

In its consultation document, the city council said: “The community centre is currently single storey and an awkward shape that does not make efficient use of space. Its redevelopment would free up space for other developments.”

But Mr Potts said that NOA members were happy with the current community centre and did not wish to see it replaced. The group held a public meeting of 29 people, with no one backing the plan.

But in the report on the results of the consultation, the city council said 68 per cent of respondents – 124 people out of 182 – were in favour.

Council spokesman Chofamba Sithole said no decision on the community centre’s fate had yet been made.

He said: “We are still carefully considering all the comments we have received and have not reached any firm conclusions yet.”

Diamond Place houses Summertown’s main car park.

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