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New community centre will take shape on The Hill

A contemporary building will be the new home of The Hill Youth and Community Centre and will have a hall big enough to accommodate a badminton court.

Cherwell District Council's planning committee yesterday (Thursday) approved permission for the new facility, after £840,000 of funding was sourced last November. The existing building located in Dover Avenue, Banbury is in poor condition and will be demolished, while the new one is set to be rebuilt nearby in Bretch Hill.

The council has chosen a modern design for the facility, following a public consultation undertaken in September 2016.

Cllr Colin Clarke, Cherwell's lead member for planning, said: "The new community centre will be of great benefit to the local residents as it has been designed to meet their needs. I am very glad that the community will have the big hall back since they have been prevented from using the existing one for four years due to its poor condition.

"We deliberately chose to build the community centre from scratch because the existing one is too damaged and the refurbishment would not have been cost effective. Of course, it will take more time to deliver a brand new building but this is going to be a valuable long-term investment in the community.

"The council has committed to a programme of improving and rebuilding facilities like this because we believe in supporting active lifestyles for residents of all ages. I am sure that the new building, with the additional badminton court, is fit for this purpose."

The new building would be constructed from render, timber-effect cladding and red brick with a significant amount of glazing. It would have bigger hall, 9.5 metres high which will contain a badminton court, and a smaller hall to accommodate community events and offices. Accessibility to the community centre will be improved with a new, bigger car park.

The project is being delivered as part of the Brighter Futures in Banbury initiative, a long term partnership project working to improve the quality of life in parts of the town which have been identified as having areas of deprivation. Cherwell is providing the majority of the funding for the project, with a £400,000 contribution.

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