Demolition of disused Banbury community centre set to begin next week

The Hill Community Centre, Banbury. NNL-170314-151212009
The Hill Community Centre, Banbury. NNL-170314-151212009

A long-awaited, new community centre in Banbury will be one step closer when the demolition of the old building begins on Monday (August 6).

Families in Bretch Hill have been waiting nearly five years for The Hill Youth and Community Centre to be replaced, with Cherwell District Council apologising for the delays.

The demolition by ARD is scheduled to take three weeks with the council expected to award the contract for building the new centre on Dover Avenue in September.

Cherwell’s lead member for estates and the economy, Cllr Lynn Pratt, said: “The start of demolition work is an important milestone in the delivery of a high-quality new youth centre.

“It will be an important focal point for Bretch Hill and the wider community and I am excited to see contractors arriving on site.”

The Hill had to stop some services when a hole was discovered in the roof of the sports hall in November, 2013.

Planning permission for a new centre including a large main hall, a smaller hall, a kitchen, changing rooms and break-out areas, was granted in March, 2017.

But the response from contractors was ‘poor’ and considered too expensive, the council said, so revised plans were approved in June, with different materials and a new parking area.

Cllr Pratt said the contracts for demolition and construction have been separated so the work can start sooner.

The new centre is being supported by a £600,000 investment from the council, £350,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England and £10,000 each from Banbury Charities and Banbury Town Council.

A further £80,000 will be made up from Section 106 contributions which is money paid by developers of large housing projects to fund community infrastructure.

Cllr Pratt added: “We are in close contact with residents in the immediate vicinity of the old building to make sure they are aware of the work, and to minimise any disruption.

“While the demolition is underway, council officers will be hard at work preparing for the appointment of a building contractor, which we look forward to announcing in the coming weeks.”