Community Centre For Barrow
A New Community Centre For Barrow - a BUSCA Project
The New Community Building sub committee of BUSCA has worked tirelessly for the past 10+ years to try to achieve a community building that can be used by all residents at any time of day or evening. Barrow is a large village with a rapidly growing population and its many small halls do not meet with demand.
Very many possible sites have been investigated with the help of experts. By 2015/16 only one site seemed to be a possibility: the picnic field on Fishpool Way, owned by Barrow Parish Council.
In 2016/17 the Parish Council agreed that it would support BUSCA in building a community hub. Further, that it would be prepared to allow BUSCA to take a 99 year lease at a peppercorn rent of the land on Fishpool Way identified as the picnic field. Both of these agreements were subject to a satisfactory feasibility study.
After a huge amount of work developing plans for a community building on the picnic field, a planning application was submitted in 2018. By January 2019, the planning application had not yet been heard.
The Parish Council was challenged at a BUSCA public meeting held in July 2017 and again at the Annual Parish Meeting in April 2018 about the validity of offering a lease of land that is a designated Open Space with a restrictive covenant placed on it. Legal advice from a barrister was obtained by the Parish Council.
As a result of the barrister’s advice, the Parish Council withdrew its offer of the lease. It has however agreed to meet with representatives of BUSCA to discuss how both might work together in the future.
We very much hope that this is beginning of a new chapter that might bear fruit in providing Barrow with a much-needed community building.
Previous years' reports
At last a potential site has been identified for a new building. At an open public meeting held on July 11th BUSCA was pleased to announce that the Parish Council has agreed to support us in our efforts to build a New Community Building for the use and benefit of all residents on its plot of land off Fishpool Way.
The meeting was attended by 50 Barrow residents. Also in attendance was the professional project consultant, John Leney. An exhibition of other potential sites, plans and draft design proposals for the building was followed by a powerpoint presentation on the work of BUSCA in the community. The work done so far on identifying a site from an options appraisal, the potential uses of the building, outcomes from consultation of the Local Neighbourhood Plan and consultation with Barrow Parish Council, were explained.
The presentation was followed by a discussion of needs and potential uses of the building to update work already done. From this a list of priorities for the future use and design of the building will be deduced.
The next steps are to apply for grant funding to complete the feasibility study to prepare for applying for planning permission. Once this is achieved BUSCA will apply for major grant funding to construct the building.
This is a major project being undertaken by BUSCA on behalf of the people of Barrow. Its aim is to provide additional sports and social spaces within the village to accommodate activities which cannot take place at present and some new activities and services.
If anyone feels they have appropriate skills or interests and would like to help in taking this project forward we would be pleased to hear from you.
Sue Rodgers 01509 416533
Last year was a year of both hope and disappointments for the group. At the beginning of the year the perfect site was at last identified. Approaches were made to the owner and a very positive dialogue opened. On the strength of this building plans were prepared, discussions with the planning authority took place and importantly grant applications made. - We were given to understand that our application stood a high chance of success!
Unfortunately in September it became clear that the owner had no serious intention to sell or lease the site to us and our grant applications were withdrawn. Significantly the site remains derelict!
However in early 2014 we began to look again at other possible sites and at the time of writing initial investigations are taking place as to the viability of these sites.
We firmly believe that a new building owned solely by the community of Barrow upon Soar and operated in partnership with other organisations, is essential for the continued vitality and wellbeing and of our community.
Barrow does have a number of small rooms that are available to hire on an hourly basis but these are under some considerable pressure many groups are unable to find a permanent home. Other facilities are also under pressure, the medical facilities for example.
In recent years several groups have left the village due to the lack of suitable space; table tennis, archery, ballroom dance to name but three and there is not the suitable space for other activities such as a day care centre, softplay area and youth centre.
BUSCA aims to provide a multi purpose building, to provide space for facilities that the village does not have at present.
You will shortly be asked to give your thoughts in a questionnaire for the Neighbourhood Plan as to how you view the importance of such a building in relation to other projects that are coming forward in our village
BUSCA believes that our project cannot be compared to other projects. A community building will breathe new life into our community and provide much needed space and facilities that are already enjoyed by other communities in the county, often much smaller than the expanding village of Barrow upon Soar.
We hope you will give BUSCA your overwhelming support in its aim to give the Village the facilities it most certainly needs and deserves.