BIG ISSUE: Plans for a second community centre in Buckshaw Village

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  • Residents fear they could be hit financially if a second community centre is built
  • Council leader says residents do not have to worry about the impact of the new community centre
  • Calls for adoption of Buckshaw Village to be looked at in more detail

Proposals for a second community centre have led to a bigger debate about the future of Buckshaw Village.

Chorley Council is planning to build a £600,000 community centre on Ordnance Road, on the same site as a proposed new Aldi supermarket.

Council leader Coun Alistair Bradley said community groups have been complaining about a lack of facilities for more than two years and the planned centre would meet that demand.

But some residents fear they could be hit financially if a second community centre is built and takes bookings away from the existing centre.

They believe it could lead to Buckshaw Village’s management company increasing charges for all residents.

The current community centre is one of the things funded by the £150 annual management fee paid by residents.

Resident Rick Jones, of Dorset Drive, said: “We have a community centre in the village which is managed on behalf of residents by RMG (management company Residential Management Group)under that charge.

“Any proposed second site, even if the council said it would build and maintain it, represents a financial risk to residents because it’s competition. Presumably it will have better facilities and attract more people.”

Another resident, Phil Glaiser, of Bryning Way, said: “If Chorley Council does give the nod for this to go ahead, it could quite drastically affect the existing community centre that’s there.

“Any kind of financial implications that will have, will have to fall on the residents, who pay into a community-based pot for the community centre.”

Mr Glaiser believes other options should be considered, such as an extension to the existing centre and the council taking responsibility for the centre from RMG.

Coun Bradley says residents do not have to worry about the impact of the new community centre and that it had been discussed with RMG.

He said: “We will liaise with them to ensure the two centres don’t conflict and we will work with them to make sure both are utilised fully.

“We believe there is demand for the centres. We wouldn’t do something to one that would harm the other.

“Ultimately we might end up owning the centre.

“In the future, there could be a possible move over from RMG running it for the developers.

“At some stage they are going to want to move off Buckshaw, so it could transfer to us.”

A spokesman for RMG declined to comment on whether the fee paid by residents could increase if the existing community centre loses booking.

He said: “The proposals for the additional community centre at Buckshaw Village are made by Chorley Council and do not form part of any initiatives made by the developers or RMG.

“The developers and RMG are in regular consultation with Chorley Council on matters at Buckshaw Village.”

An informal meeting was held on Saturday for residents to raise their concerns.

And the issue of the community centre appears to have raised questions about Buckshaw Village as a whole.

Different organisations are involved in the village, with Chorley and South Ribble councils, Lancashire County Council, parish councils, housing developers and RMG all having input.

Some roads have already been adopted by Lancashire County Council and it is thought the rest of the village could eventually be adopted, when building work has been completed.

But adoption is not mandatory and the developers could decide to keep responsibility for the village.

If it is adopted, Lancashire County Council could take responsibility for aspects such as highways and street lighting and Chorley Council could take on play areas, for example.

It is thought most of the land in the South Ribble part of the village is commercial and there would be little, if anything, to adopt.

The residents now want adoption to be looked at in more detail.

Mr Jones said: “It’s the largest brownfield residential development in Europe and yet these problems have never been sorted out.

“I want them to adopt the village. I want there to be some unifying standard or some plan for adoption.”

Mr Glaiser added: “There seems to be chronic delays in terms of the local authorities taking over ownership of the roads and the infrastructure.”

Mr Jones believes one option could be that residents set up a community interest company to take responsibility for some things from RMG.

He said: “Everybody pays at the moment £150. What we could do with that money is invest it locally.

“We could make sure anything we bought in locally, such as for cutting the grass or buying in services, we could make sure it was spent locally within five or 10 miles of the village.”

Coun Bradley said: “We are pushing for them to get it adopted as soon as possible.

“For residents in Buckshaw Village and in other housing estates, we want the developers and the county council to get the adoption of these roads done as quickly as possible.”

Rachel Crompton, developer support manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “Discussions continue between the county council and the developer about adopting all the newly-built roads. The county council has to make sure that all necessary processes have been followed before any adoption can take place.

“ The developers have been made aware of these requirements.

“The next lengths of road expected to be finalised and presented for adoption are Village Way and the remaining length of Old Worden Lane.

“Until this has happened, any responsibility for an unadopted road remains with the developers.”

A spokesman for developer Redrow said he could not provide a full schedule of when roads would be adopted, but confirmed that Central Avenue, Buckshaw Avenue and Ordnance Road have already been adopted.

A spokesman for Barratt Homes did not reply to a request for a comment before the Guardian’s deadline.