COMMUNITY groups using Bullingdon Community Centre have welcomed ‘desperately needed’ renovation and expansion plans.

The centre, in Lye Valley, has already been operating more than 40 years beyond its expected lifespan and has been lined up for a £500,000 Oxford City Council-funded makeover.

The proposals revealed that the existing main hall and original community centre would be demolished and replaced by a larger hall which better connects with the rest of the building.

The 15 groups regularly using the centre met with architects Jessop and Cook and provided input on their various needs before seeing the completed plans.

One of those groups – the Seven O’Clock Club, a popular social club for adults with learning disabilities – has been catering for up to 80 people at its weekly meetings.

Dave Feeley, who has volunteered at the club for more than 40 years, said he couldn’t wait for the new facility.

The 62-year-old said: “It’s desperately needed, the building is practically falling down and it’s very cold.

“It’s definitely going to be warmer and it will be a slightly bigger building too.

“We will have access to the rear garden, which will be a great asset for us and allow us to have barbecues and events outside.

“It’s going to be brilliant for us – we need a big hall for our bingo and pool table – we have between 60 and 80 people each week and sometimes we are right up to maximum so we can’t wait for the new building to get more people along.”

The ORK Martial Arts club and its students – as young as seven – are the most frequent users of the centre.

Chief instructor Otis Williams, who started the club in 2008 to give youngsters in Wood Farm physical exercise, confidence and self-discipline, said the refurb was very much needed.

He said: “I have about 30 students and it’s not really big enough for that - the hall is quite small.

“We use the centre three to four days a week and have been there for 10 years.

“Once the renovation is done, which is definitely needed, there will be a lot more space and it will be much better for us.”

Built in 1948, it is the only community centre serving the Lye Valley and Wood Farm area.

The funding comes after a survey in 2016 revealed cracks in the walls and fears that it may have been forced to close if left unrepaired.

It was then temporarily closed in July last year over safety concerns but re-opened after workers installed nine temporary props.

Architects Jessop and Cook said it was a ‘vital part of the community’ but that the existing building was ‘sub standard’ and the plans would secure its future.

To comment on the plans – before the deadline on January 26 – go to and search 17/03426/CT3