Emsworth has given the green light to Renovate and Enhance the Community Centre
About 350 people attended Emsworth Community Associations’ Annual General Meeting, held at St. James Church. Those present, including members and residents of Emsworth, voted overwhelmingly by a large show of hands, to renovate and enhance the Emsworth Community Centre, as opposed to the alternative option of inviting a developer to completely demolish and rebuild with flats.
The anticipated presentation by the New-Build sub-committee and Radian Homes of their proposals to demolish the existing Community Centre and replace it with a purpose built Centre did not happen. Instead Mr Peter Tier, of the New-Build sub-committee, read out a statement. This was followed by a presentation by Rob Jupp, of Jupp Building Consultancy, on the proposed renovation and enhanced works which would be funded by the HCC grant.
After the short presentations, local residents, members, hirers and users of the Centre were able to ask questions and express their opinions. The meeting was ably chaired by Stephanie Elsy of Emsworth Forum, who ensured the lively discussions came to a purposeful conclusion. At the end of the debate Stephanie invited the audience to raise their hands, to get an indication for which option the public preferred, and there was an overwhelming majority in favour of the proposal to renovate compared to a small show of support for the alternative option.
During the second half of the evening, members of Emsworth Community Association voted in the new Trustees who would form the Council of Management for 2016/2017. The members chose unanimously to select Trustees that had a preference for saving the existing buildings and voted Mike Stott, who had led the team for renovation to remain as Chairman.
The other trustees selected were: Jan Butler (Secretary), James Bassett (Treasurer), Jeremy Ball, Will Barnard, Vivienne Davies, Tom Griffin, Joan Horton, Liz Mardel, Jill Millar, Bryan Oldaker, Alison Patrick, Richard Swaine, Sandie Swaine, Graham Taplin and Clive Yeomans.
What was on the table…
Background to the New Build Option
ECA has a Buildings Sub-Committee of five trustees who manage the premises. Three of these trustees have a surveying / engineering background and they conclude, sadly, that the current buildings are unsustainable for a number of reasons.
- 1. Maintenance Problems
• Dangerous fire detection and fire escape provision which does not meet Health and Safety legislation and for which trustees are personally responsible
• Inadequate ventilation and insulation coupled with rising damp, none of which can be effectively managed or resolved
• Difficult control and high cost of six different heating systems
• Major repairs which are due soon e.g. extensive replacement of electrical installation and replacement of worn out flat roof over reception area
• Awkward and risky floor levels and ramp which do not meet Health and Safety legislation and for which trustees are personally responsible
2. Financial Problems
• ECA’s income does not match the predictable maintenance costs for the current buildings
• Grants from Hampshire C.C. (HCC) and Havant B.C. (HBC) are no longer available.
• Emsworth is a location which cannot now attract funding from other major providers
HCC, who own the site, wish to pass ownership of all the ECA premises to the trustees, but experienced Buildings Sub-Committee trustees – and others – are unwilling to accept ownership of the current premises which have become too difficult and costly to maintain. We therefore looked at a New Build Option and through the Martin Ralph Group, a reputable local property consultancy, we were introduced to Radian Homes, a not-for profit organisation which is one of the South’s leading care and housing providers.
What the Radian Homes New Build Option will provide
- All current facilities and the extra facilities asked for during 3 public consultations
• A floor plan with an increase in the area of useable space
• Modern facilities which can be managed effectively by volunteer trustees
• A community centre easily accessible and safe for disabled and infirm users
• A community centre which future generations will be able to enjoy
• A working partnership with Radian Homes, a well-financed organisation with long term experience in community projects
Fourteen new flats for sale or rent will be incorporated on the site. Radian Homes have extensive experience of providing high quality construction and management of such properties and the resulting profit will be shared to provide Emsworth with a new Community Centre designed to ECA requirements, at no cost to ECA, HCC or HBC. We therefore conclude that the New Build Option provides an exciting, manageable future for Emsworth Community Centre and the people it serves.
Click on the floor plan to enlarge