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Community centre gets the go-ahead

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: September 02, 2013

The old community centre and adjoining land will now be redeveloped with affordable houses

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A NEW community centre is to be built in the centre of a housing estate despite the scheme splitting residents’ views.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council planners have given permission for a new centre to be constructed on open space land at Horsecroft Crescent.

The application, which sparked a number of objections from residents, was submitted by Ascent Housing, a joint venture between the council and Your Housing to build 424 units across the Moorlands.

Nearby resident Kevin Lovatt said: “Residents of Horsecroft Crescent are opposed to the location as it is in close proximity to bungalows and will affect elderly people. It is feared problems will escalate. The car parking spaces allowed are nowhere near enough and people will park on the roads causing traffic congestion.”

Fellow resident Gary Egerton said people were not against the centre, but it was taking away open space for football, cricket and other activities.

He said: “This is a wonderful site for people to socialise on. The development will have an affect on the community. Have the barns at Haregate Hall been considered?”

Lesley Roberts said: “This is green open space and important for children and adults. Haregate does not have a surplus of green space.”

However, trustee of the centre, John Belfield, said the current site was unfit for purpose.

He said: “We believe the new centre would be financially sustainable in two years. It will provide a drop-in cafe and attract more users. It will also make a difference to disabled users. We believe this will make a big difference as a new centre is needed.”

Applicant and director of Your Housing, Martin Stevenson, said the proposed site had been selected after looking at other locations.

He said: “This building will not restrict the use of the area as it will leave plenty of room for children.

“This will cost Ascent Hosuing half a million pounds and the community will profit from it.” Agent David Smith said the land was proposed for housing, but after consultation the proposals were changed.

He said: “The barns are too restrictive. The community centre will promote more use in a central position.”

Leek North councillor Darren Price told the planning committee on Thursday that the new centre would only take a small parcel of the open space away.

All planning members voted to approve the application.

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