‘Youth centre will take over park’
Hundreds sign up against council plan
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