RESIDENTS have said the £1m revamp of a city community centre is ‘unsafe’ after spotting tools left out and walking down stairs with no rails.

Work on refurbishing Barton Neighbourhood Centre began in March, with city councillor Mike Rowley previously indicating it could be finished by September last year.

However, work is still going on. Now Jayne Champion, a weekly user of the Underhill Circus community building, has hit out at the work, saying ‘it is exposing people to danger’.

Oxford Mail:

She said: “How someone hasn’t been injured is remarkable.

“I have seen tools abandoned, stair rails taken down, lift out of use and building platforms and barriers around.

“I just feel that in other places, nobody would have put up with it: you need to close buildings which are having a major renovation.”

The 55-year-old added: “I am surprised nobody has been hurt, everything is so slapdash.”

Oxford Mail:

Work to freshen up the neighbourhood facility with a £940,000 boost began nearly a year ago and it was kept open to minimise the impact on residents who use its services.

As it is, the centre is home to a GP surgery, community cafe, community hall, sports hall, advice centre, police office and youth club.

But when the building job is finished, the doctors surgery will be triple the size, the sports hall will have a makeover with new lights and heating, and there will be two new counselling rooms, among many other updates.

It was also see the arrival of a brand new entrance and foyer, with brickwork re-plastered and re-painted, and new windows at the front and signs.

Oxford Mail:

The main aim was to turn the centre, that first opened in 1992, into a one-stop hub of health facilities and vital services for the population boom expected when more people move into the new Barton Park estate.

Back in March, changes were welcomed by community stalwart Sue Holden.

At the time she told the Oxford Mail that it would be worth the wait, explaining: “Although there will be some general disruption during the refurb period this is inevitable if we all want to reach the end result which will give us access to a much improved facility.”

Oxford Mail:

The secretary of the Barton Community Association added: “Once completed the centre will benefit the whole community and will be a welcoming and more inviting venue to visit. It will also allow BCA to have a far more visible presence within the community.”

Oxford City Council and Mike Rowley, councillor for Barton and Sandhills, were asked when the work would be completed and if they were satisfied that the job is being done safely.

Both have been asked for a comment but neither had replied at time of going to press.