AN AGEING community centre has finally been cleared out before its imminent demolition.

Volunteers at the Bullingdon Community Association spent May Day clearing out the community centre on Peat Moors in Headington, Oxford, while celebrating getting one step closer to having a shiny new building.

The community centre, built in the early 1950s by local people, has shown signs of wear and tear for many years, and after a successful campaign by its users, Oxford City Council agreed for the structure to be demolished and replaced with an eco-friendly building.

The Bullingdon Community Centre was set to be demolished and rebuilt last summer, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the plans were put on hold.

In December, it was confirmed the centre’s revamp would go ahead later on this year.

The council said the £1.3m renovation would be included in its 2021/2022 budget.

Campaigner Shirley Nelder of Dene Road, said, upon hearing the news: “Supporters of the Bullingdon Community Centre have been on tenterhooks anticipating the council’s decision on whether, in these difficult times, they should or could go ahead with the planned rebuild of the community centre.

“The community centre is literally being stabilised with props which are regularly checked but it would only be a matter of time before even the props would not be able to stop the inevitable collapse.

“So the choice for us was stark.”

The new building would contain a main hall, kitchen, office and storage with a central atrium and an entrance lobby, on roughly the same footprint as the current old building.

She added: “A lot of people worked hard to get this project to where it is today, there were a lot of challenges and disappointments.

Locals celebrate the demolition

Locals celebrate the demolition

“I am so pleased that it has all paid off and that the council has agreed that the 21/22 budget will include the rebuild.”

Headington volunteers took upon the task of clearing out years’ worth of the centre’s contents, piling furniture into containers for storage.

Richard Bryant, the trustee of the Bullingdon Community Centre, said: “After all the years of campaigning and setbacks, we can’t really believe it is happening.”

The community centre will officially close this Friday, when the volunteers will be handing the keys to the city council.

The council will then undertake its preliminary survey prior of the demolition of the building and the construction of the new centre.

Local people and community centre users had been campaigning for the demolition of the site for a number of years, after an incident in July 2017 meant that groups using the community centre were asked to move out with just 24 hours’ notice after the council raised the alarms about the decaying walls.