‘Youth cen­tre will take over park’

Hun­dreds sign up against coun­cil plan

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Clementine kather­ine.clementine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

PLANS for a £1mil­lion youth cen­tre in a green space sur­rounded by houses in Harefield, have caused con­tro­versy and prompted a pe­ti­tion with more than 1,500 sig­na­tures against it.

The pro­posal comes from Hilling­don Coun­cil it­self, which hopes to build a sin­gle­storey youth cen­tre, with a two-storey sports hall, new play­ground, car park­ing, light­ing and fenc­ing on the green space in Ash Grove, Harefield.

Lead pe­ti­tioner Lisa Whicker, who has gath­ered 1,674 sig­na­tures and count­ing, thinks this plot is the wrong lo­ca­tion for the project.

She said: “We want to keep our park. It’s been there since 1955.

“They’re ac­tu­ally tak­ing over a whole park, which is used on a reg­u­lar ba­sis by the res­i­dents, and it’s to­tally in the wrong place.

“The road it­self is not wide enough, it’s an overde­vel­op­ment and it’s go­ing to mean a loss of amenity to lots of res­i­dents.

“It’s a lot of in­vest­ment and it’s just go­ing to be an­other space in Harefield that’s go­ing to be gone.

“There are other places in Harefield where they could pos­si­bly lo­cate it and it would be bet­ter and not such a huge im­pact on so many res­i­dents.”

Ms Whicker’s chil­dren use the space as it cur­rently is and she says a safe place for them to play will be taken away.

“We’re just re­ally com­ing up against it. The coun­cil­lors are all say­ing we need this,” she said. she got one and put it on Face­book and we all got straight on it.

“So I rang up two months ago and asked for a let­ter and I got mine on March 7.”

Cllr Jane Palmer, ward coun­cil­lor for Harefield, says she hopes the lo­cal author­ity can de­liver the youth cen­tre ahead of a plan­ning de­ci­sion, which is listed to be made by May 10 on Hilling­don Coun­cil’s web­site.

She said: “I have at­tended the Harefield Ten­ants and Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion reg­u­larly where this mat­ter has been dis­cussed and I’ve met res­i­dents that agree with the youth cen­tre and those who do not. I un­der­stand, at first hand, the con­cern that some of my res­i­dents are rais­ing. We are prob­a­bly the only Lon­don coun­cil who has the abil­ity to de­liver such a fa­cil­ity for our young peo­ple.

“I will con­tinue, as I have done for the past two years, to en­gage with res­i­dents and try to rep­re­sent this vil­lage as best as I can and I hope we can con­tinue to de­liver our prom­ise to res­i­dents for a youth cen­tre in Harefield.”

I don’t think they con­sid­ered the ac­tual lo­ca­tion of it. They may as well just knock our back fences down.”

n CON­TRO­VERSY: Res­i­dents pe­ti­tion­ing against the new youth cen­tre

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