Have your say on plans for The Park

Residents are being urged to have their say on proposals for a new community centre at The Park until mid August – before the planning application is submitted to the council in September.

The plans were revealed at The Park on 12 June – with 74 residents, including many from nearby streets, attending the launch event.

The proposals are now on permanent display at the centre’s cafe area for people to give feedback – and a second drop-in event to see the revised plans will be held on 11 July with a further one in August.

The new centre will cost £6.5m and be built next to the existing one. The Park will sell its current site to the Department for Education for 4.5m for a new secondary school.

The new 900-place school will be built on the site of the former Merrywood Grammar School which closed in 2000 and The Park now occupies. It will cater for 11-16s and be run by Oasis Community Learning.

The playing fields will be shared – with The Park having use for its community groups after school hours.

The new community centre will have two buildings linked to the existing sports hall. They will be far more energy efficient and sustainable than the current site and landscaping will be a key part of the development with lots of greenery.

All 40 organisations currently housed at The Park will move into the new buildings.

Sam Carrier from The Park said: “It’s purpose built – everyone here has inputted what they need and we’ve accommodated it. It means everyone on the site has a secure future.”

If plans are passed work could start in March next year – and the centre will be ready to move into by May 2021. The old buildings will then be demolished and the construction of the new school can begin.

The Park is working with Knowle West Alliance on the consultation process to make sure local people have the opportunity to have their say.

The centre has a footfall of around 4,000 people a month who can view the plans and give feedback. The proposals have also been taken out into the community and are available in local libraries.

Plans are already being revised by architects following the feedback – including making the buildings “more colourful” and “less like a warehouse”. They will be shown on 11 July at an all day drop-in at The Park.

Anyone unable to drop in to the centre can also view the plans online and make comments at www.theparkredevelopment.co.uk Hard copies are also available by contacting Avril Baker Consultancy on 0117 977 2002 or emailing info@abc-pr.co.uk