Plans for a replacement for community centre in Bretch Hill to go before councillors

The Hill Community Centre, Banbury. NNL-170314-151139009

The Hill Community Centre, Banbury. NNL-170314-151139009

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A replacement for a dilapidated community centre on a Banbury estate is due to be approved by councillors tomorrow, Thursday.

An application to knock down and rebuild The Hill Youth and Community Centre has been recommended for approval by planners and is due to be discussed by Cherwell District Council’s planning committee.

Wear and tear to the roof of the Bretch Hill centre led to the main sports hall being closed in 2013.

Rebuilding the centre is a partnership project between Banbury Community Church, Cherwell District Council and Sanctuary Housing.

Funding of £840,000 has been sourced for the project with cash coming from CDC, Sport England, Banbury Charities, Banbury Town Council and section 106 contributions.

The application includes a new parking and drop-off area to the south-west of the site as well as informal sports pitches, a playground and a community garden. The centre will include a badminton court.

The new building will be constructed from render, timber effect cladding and red brick and will be larger than the original building.

During the consultation, one letter of objection was received with concerns raised over potential anti-social behaviour issues in the playing area and contamination issues from the removal of the old building’s asbestos roof.

No other objections were received.

Kieron Mallon, councillor for Brighter Futures in Banbury said: “This should be a fantastic addition to the facilities that part of Banbury has to offer.

“I remember as a boy the centre was known as the Willy Freund Centre. It has gone through many changes over the last 40 odd years.

“The old building was very tired and I suppose in modern parlance you could say it was not fit for purpose.

“This new facility would, we hope, provide a fantastic focus for young people in the Ruscote and Bretch Hill area and I hope it will last as long as the old building.”

The building caters for many youth groups and organisations and works with mainly young people aged between 11 and 18.

Activities include football, dance and an open youth club.

The designs for the centre were shown to the public during consultation in September last year.