MEMBERS of a community centre have lodged a complaint to Oxford City Council following months of delays to the renovation of their centre which has cost them £3,000.

The Bullingdon Community Association say that because they were not kept up to date with the decision to halt the renovation to their centre in Peat Moors, Lye Valley, they lost time and money and saw relationships sour with users of the centre.

Richard Bryant is secretary of the association which looks after the community centre. He said: “I have calculated that, to date, the community association has lost £3,000 in rent and bookings as a result of the disruption caused by the council’s handling of the suspension of the renovation.”

Oxford Mail:

The centre was set to benefit from a £500,000 revamp earlier this year, but those plans were thrown into uncertainty when the city council said it had discovered a filled in quarry under the building.

But residents hit out at the council after they found maps dating back to 1949, of plans to build the community centre on the former quarry on the city council’s own website.

The city council said the maps were not accurate and insisted the reason the plans had ground to a halt was because they didn’t realise that the quarry was there.

However, community association members say they feel let down by the council and have complained of poor communication and a lack of warning over its decision to suspend the proposed renovation.

In their official complaint lodged with the council, the members say: “The clear lack of communication and warning over the decision to suspend the renovation of the centre, resulted in the avoidable relocation of groups and the closure of the main hall.”

The hall was home to several groups, including dance classes and creative writing courses.

It has now been reopened and groups who had to vacate the building, ready for the renovation, have now been invited back.

In their complaint, members said the closure resulted in“the undermining of social capital which had been built up over many years.”

The centre, built after planning permission was approved in 1949, has been operating for more than 40 years beyond its expected lifespan and is now the only community centre serving Lye Valley and Wood Farm.

Tim Sadler, Executive Director of Sustainable City, said: “We have received the complaint, and I have already spoken to Bullingdon Community Association to say that I will look into the concerns and provide them with a clear explanation of the sequence of events. We continue to work with the association, and are looking at ways to bring forward a scheme to re-provide the centre.”

Mr Bryant said: “It’s not sorted, but we had a meeting with Tim Sadler and some of our trustees. We were pleased that he had come to see us. It's a hopeful sign that they were concerned.

“It was made clear how angry people were about how the process was handled and how the hall was left. It will only be properly sorted when they reply.”