St Ann’s -- Robin Hood Chase consultation meetings
'Move the Chase Neighbourhood Centre onto the site of Loxley House,' was one interesting suggestion put forward during a consultation event on the Robin Hood Chase today.
Project Managers Alan Parker & Gill Callingham of the City Council were at the Chase Neighbourhood Centre this morning to show off their new master plan for the Robin Hood Chase shopping precinct, and consult local people.
In addition, another public meeting has been arranged at the Chase neighbourhood Centre for Thursday 29th November at 4pm, when St Ann's locals are being invited to discuss the new plans with local councillors Jon Collins, Dave Liversidge & Sue Johnson.
At today's meeting local residents said that "it was the building of the Neighbourhood Centre in the middle of the Robin Hood Chase in 1997 that caused great harm, with many of the shops closing down soon afterwards. The community centre is not a permanent fixed structure; it is made from wooden units bolted together, so it can be moved!"
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Eight local residents arrived to join in the discussion this morning, and later three of the Chase shopkeepers attended.
Locals said that the construction of new St Ann's following the slum clearance program in the late 1970s was 'a disaster', as few facilities were rebuilt in the area, shops, community centres and pubs, and what has been provided has now nearly all gone. "The recent closures of the Chase Co-op store, and Westminster pub was a great loss to the community", they said.
The residents at the meeting also thought that the master plan shown "was not sensitive to the needs of St Ann's locals who often used the Robin Hood Chase," and said they believed the Regeneration Scheme was a kind of "damage limitation exercise."
Project Manager Gill Callingham informed the meeting that "all the elderly people we have consulted say that no one wanted to go onto the Chase at night time, because it has a bad reputation."
All the local residents present today said "this was just not true!" A lot of the shops had closed because of the positioning of the community centre, so there was nowhere for people to do their shopping today during the hours of darkness. All of the pensioners at today's meeting agreed, and pointed out that "they did go onto the Robin Hood Chase at night, and even walked to the top of the Chase when it was dark."
As part of Zone 3 in place of the former library, Co-op and shops on the north side of the Chase, there are plans to build up to 18 new houses at a cost of £2m. We were told this part of the project will now not happen until 2015 at the earliest.
Plans at the meeting also show a 50/50 mix of new houses & shops on the area at the front of the Robin Hood Chase in Zone 2a in place of the closed Health Centre, which would cost £1.6m.
However, Gisella Sobarasua who edits the Chase Magazine said "there were still too many new homes on the plan, which if built would make the Chase too closed in and claustrophobic. This would also bring with it an increase in antisocial behaviour, due to the closeness of the new houses."
Project Manager Alan Parker said that this was an issue raised during consultation events last autumn.
"We have listened to these concerns, and now we do not intend to build any new houses in the Aster Road area.
"However, we do need to build some new houses on the Chase to help finance the scheme.
"Also, we are now close to a deal with the NHS to buy the former Health Centre, so the City Council will own all of the land. It is important to realise that the future plans for the Robin Hood Chase cannot happen without a private developer on board, as the City Council does not have the money to develop the land by itself," he said.
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