When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Revamp of Dean Court social club is imminent
WORK to replace an arson-hit social club is “imminent” after a controversial plan to build garages in front of it were dropped.
Dean Court Community Association’s Priscilla Waugh said members hope to reopen the social club by the summer.
The centre in Pinnocks Way, off Eynsham Road, Oxford, was wrecked in an arson attack in February 2011 and its successor is intended to be a community centre for all.
But it was feared the revamp could be jeopardised after plans were submitted for five garages opposite the centre.
It would have prevented the centre from having a “welcoming” frontage and create “loitering spaces”, it was warned.
Now Sovereign Housing Association has changed its garage plans, building 12 away from the entrance in plans recently approved by Vale of White Horse District Council.
Ms Waugh said: “We are really pleased. It is another hurdle we have passed, we were very concerned about it.
“It would have absolutely ruined the approach to the centre and would have had repercussions for security.
“We want the whole thing to be open and transparent so it looks welcoming.”
Insurers are covering £330,000 needed to refurbish the centre, while the association itself has raised more £50,000.
Association committee chairman Anna Pearson said final details were being agreed for a lease of the site from the district council.
She said: “We feel ready. Once the agreement is in place, building will start which will be of huge significance because we have waited to get to this point.”
Cumnor Parish Council and 32 residents objected to Sovereign’s original plan for garages opposite the centre. The parish council said it was “deeply concerned”, but supported the rebuilding of the other garages, expected to be useable by March.
Sovereign spokesman Cathy Saunders said: “Having worked closely with those involved in the exciting redevelopment of the new community centre, other local residents and the parish council, we were pleased to reach a great outcome for everyone by getting planning permission to rebuild 12 garages on our site next door.”