Great Holm Community Centre

gt holm front

Today I attended a meeting at MK Council to talk about the future of the Great Holm Community Centre.

MK Council had placed this property into their capital asset transfer programme. This attracted no expressions of interest, save from Loughton Parish Council’s possible interest.

The premises were built in the late 1980s. They were leased by MK Council to Great Holm Community Centre Limited (“GHCCL”) which is a registered charity and has three Directors/Trustees. It appears this lease expired in 2007 and nothing has been done since. The company does not appear to be paying any rent and in fact MK Council is supporting the company with grants. In 2012 the grant support was £11,750. There is a significant possibility that this grant may be withdrawn at some stage in the future.

gt holm sign

Recently the sign outside needed to be replaced so we replaced the sign as you can see in the photo on the left. Although Loughton Parish Council is mentioned on the sign we do not at present have any interest or right in the premises.

We are keen however to secure the premises for future use and it would be a great shame if the grant was withdrawn and the premises had to close as a result.

At the meeting today we explored all the options that might exist for the property. I am concerned that the premises seem rather run down and could do with an overhaul to bring them up to a good standard. I imagine this building was built by the estate developer as part of their s.106 obligations. The building is functional but not at all attractive. I do not think it is a fitting public space for the area. However it may be that this is all that resources allow and we have to work with what we have.

I am going to speak to Jonathan Robinson at MK Council who deals in the s.106 agreements to see if he has any way of producing the necessary funds via this method to revitalise and overhaul the building. I enquired whether a commuted sum might be available to discharge the future grant liability – I had in mind perhaps £50k. Unfortunately there is no budget in the capital transfer process so I will have to make enquiries of the Communities Facilities Unit to see if there is any possibility of a grant bid there.

gt holm premises

The premises generated letting income of about £9.5k last year and had salary outgoings of £10.5k on the caretaker and cleaning. The grant of £11.75k seems to have been spent on some internal refurbishments.

I think it would be useful to perhaps get expert advice from a surveyor and/or architect on the condition of the property and to make a plan for what should be done with it.

We will have to also maintain a dialogue with the trustees of GHCCL and work together to make sure this important public asset of Great Holm is preserved and enhanced.

 

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Keep your feedback coming!

We’ve now had 56 residents take the 2013 online residents’ survey – many obviously prompted by the newsletter that is being delivered at the moment.

Some recent comments for your info :-

About the parish council

  • The newsletters etc keep us well informed to an extent that I have never experienced before I lived in Milton Keynes. When living elsewhere the only time I was actually informed of anything was during elections. There seem to be events. The planting everywhere is beautiful.
  • I feel very privileged to be living in an area with such a dedicated team of people looking after the well being of our environment.
  • Love the flowers. Park much improved.
  • The magazine/leaflets on what the council is doing , keeps the community up to date. Realise not a lot of money and majority only have a passing interest.
  • The Parish council is active and gets things done.
  • Up to now I haven’t heard too much about what the parish council has done
  • Generally, Loughton is a clean, tidy and safe environment where the majority of residents take pride in their houses and surroundings.
  • Having contact with some of the Councillors and the Parish Council I am aware that a lot of work goes on to the benefit of the local community. Keep up the good work.
  • Level of communication is high and interaction is measured and impressive (as judged by your work on proposed refurb of local playgrounds etc)
  • I think a lot of progress has been made over the last couple of years with a much more professional approach to the role. This is particularly well demonstrated with the obtaining of more funds to carry out projects as well as in my case the excellent support at Loughton Allotments. Enhanced communication with the Newsletter and Email News are very good. The setting up of NAGS has also been worthwhile.
  • Members are volunteers and its always difficult to get things progressed at any type of speed, so I’m pleased the Parish Council is being more active than it used to be.
  • Although not perfect Great Holm looks a lot more tidier and cared for than many other comparable estates.

 

About the newsletter

 

  • Informative.
  • Effective and informative communication is vital in the drive to build/maintain community spirit as well as secure favourable turn out a local elections.
  • It was good , lots of information.
  • Did not read it as i am not usually interested in local politics. However, i am now trying to get involved and i am testing the waters to see if my views are heard. When is the next newsletter out?
  • I did not have it delivered. I found it by accident in the pharmacy of the Surgery whilst waiting for a prescription to be ready. I do think its an excellent initiative – as is the e-newsletter. I wish you engaged more on facebook. You can do this for free by using HootSuite at the same time as posting to twitter.
  • It pointed people to various websites available in MK. The names of the Parish Council Members and other news items not readily available if people on their own are very unsure of their safety to attend the 8pm meetings.
  • I fully read the newsletter for the first time as I have only recently moved to Loughton and was very impressed with the variety of subjects covered and the many activities in which LPC is involved. I have kept the copy of the newsletter for future reference.
  • Good, regular update on local info. Blog is also very informative.
  • Excellent in both style and content.
  • Lots of good detail about what’s happening. Well done, more please.
  • I think the Newsletter serves as a reminder to all residents that the Parish Council exists and that it is carrying out a function that is worthwhile.
  • Very good quality and included relevant information.
  • Look forward to more details with regards to ongoing projects e.g. Village Green,Graveyard and future planning proposals. Publish perhaps quarterly. Not as informative as Wolverton Town Council’s publication, which obviously has a lot more events with a budget to suit.

 

 

Poll on the proposal to change name to Loughton & Great Holm Parish Council

 

31 votes cast so far; 74% (23) in favour and 26% (8) against. As more votes come in this percentage is seeming to stay roughly the same. It might change as the newsletter has not reached all parts of Loughton quite yet

 

 

 

Poll on the Badminton Centre development

 

21 votes cast so far; 95% (20) say refuse permission and 5% (1) say grant it

 

Comments on the Badminton centre planning issue:-

 

  • there are already a number of residential developments on or near lodge lake….more are NOT required
  • Parking issues along Bradwell Rd. 2) Lodge Lake is a perfect fit for the surrounding estates, building more houses will increase the amount of people to the detriment of the natural environment. Lodge Lake is not Willen Lake, which I fear it could become. 3) Already Danstead Way is heavy with traffic; having even more cars coming off Bradwell Rd. will exacerbate this issue. Also I’m worried cars will use Kensington Drive as a cut through to Portway creating more traffic on an estate road, which already has a lot of use with cars and buses.
  • 104 houses at this site is ridiculous. It will ruin the setting of Lodge Lake which is enjoyed by all local residents. The old barn should not be demolished. This is dedicated park land in the main and should remain for local people to enjoy. Badminton England should get the funding for their new centre from Sport England who can easily afford it rather than ruin Lodge Lake and our parks
  • We have lived at Gt Holm for 27 years and have already seen many changes to the area, some good some not so good. This latest development would probably one of the most drastic changes to the area. This is going to totally ruin not only the beautiful surroundings around the Lake but will inevitably be so much busier, nosier and probably dirtier (litter etc). It would be a real shame for all that to happen. Lodge Lake is one of Milton Keynes best kept secrets and everyone around Great Holm feel very lucky to be part of it. Not only that, I am also a member of the Fusion Gym, and the fact that it is walking distance is a huge advantage for me. This Gym is one of the friendliest gyms in Milton Keynes and has a loyal member base going back as far as 15 years! I am really hoping that for all the above reasons and more, that the planning application is refused.
  • It’s totally inappropriate
  • The site forms an important backdrop to Lodge Lake and any development needs to be sensitive to that fact and in keeping with the surrounding areas. The density and height of the proposed development is significantly out of keeping with the established housing in Loughton and in Great Holm adjacent to the lake.
  • Too great a negative impact on Lodge Lake.
  • high density housing in this area will be detrimental to the natural beauty and tranquility of the area, certainly in terms of increased traffic.
  • I agree with the reasons given by the Parish Council
  • spoil the area for everyone – area will become too densely populated – infrastructure unable to handle the additional traffic – loss of green space and loss of heritage buildings – loss of desirable location
  • Too many houses, impact of traffic not really considered.
  • Traffic and insufficient infrastructure to support it as well as Degrading a beautiful area.
  • The impact on Lodge Lake for the community and green area entrance into Loughton Village. Many people come on a regular basis for walking and taking lunch breaks in quiet pleasant surroundings. Parking for residents and visitors. 104 properties on the land are far in excess of the others in the vicinity. There is insufficient space for delivery vehicles and visitors to the properties which have entrances directly onto Bradwell Road. It is very close to the H4 and entrance to the Apartments in Woodward Place.
  • Not enough consideration has gone into the increased traffic that will result in the area, plus the impact on local amenities (or lack of them)
  • Would be a great message to the whole of UK on Milton Keynes as a growing town: improved facilities & great economic boost More Jobs in MK over left-wing anti planning NIMBY views in Loughton & in MK.
  • Building density too high.
  • Parks Trust land should be preserved as open space and not built on. The density of the proposed development is too great. Bradwell Road and the junction with H4 will not cope with the extra traffic generated from the development. The historic barn should be preserved.
  • not designated for housing, also too dense
  • Inconsistent with surrounding area. Parking difficulties on Bradwell Road. Far too many properties in the development.
  • The project is not well thought out, it is definitely unsympathetic to the area and additionally it will bring no benefit to our area other than to defile the heritage buildings and the lodge lake visa as well as condemning locals to 3 to 4 years of building development along Bradwell Road in the event that the development is granted

 

Useful to know what people are thinking! You can take the surveys via the homepage

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What’s in a name?

Councillor Ballantyne recently raised the issue of the name of the Parish Council, and whether it should be changed to include Great Holm within it – ie from “Loughton Parish Council” to “Loughton & Great Holm Parish Council”.

This was first raised with me at a full council meeting and I hadn’t had a chance to think about it beforehand. My immediate reaction was negative. Perhaps I am too conservative instinctively, but there has been a Loughton Parish Council for hundreds of years and I am naturally resistent to change for the simple reason that it has been like that for a very long time, what is the need to change it. The Parish also does not soley consist of these two areas but a number of other areas too but it would be impracticable to have the name “Loughton Great Holm Knowlhill West Rooksley the Bowl & Elfield Park Parish Council”. If the Parish has to be named something, it seemed (at first) to me that no change was really indicated.

However, after subsequent reflection, perhaps my view has changed. the reality is that there are only two residential areas in the Parish – Loughton & Great Holm. There are about 2,500 dwellings in those two areas, roughly half each. Loughton may have existed since the Romans and Great Holm only since the 1980s but the reality is that the Parish now consists of two residential areas of roughly equal size, straddling Portway.

The membership of the Parish Council reflects this reality – there are two wards with 5 members from Loughton and 5 from Great Holm. Both groups of Councillors represent their wards and areas.

Therefore, whilst for hundreds of years prior to the new Milton Keynes was built, the situation may have been different to now – the reality is that there has been a profound change to the area and to the Parish Council.

The name does matter in some ways. If you google for “Loughton” you will readily find the website of the Parish Council. However if you google “Great Holm” you won’t. I expect that many people in Great Holm might (incorrectly) think that Loughton Parish Council does not represent their area or have anything to offer.

If the name of the Parish Council was “Loughton & Great Holm Parish Council” there would be clarity within Great Holm and elsewhere that the Council was representative of  and part of Great Holm. So as you will probably have gathered, I have probably come to the view that if a change of name was proposed, I would probably support it. I have never thought that the argument that “this is the way it has always been” has been that persuasive, and that change where it recognises a new reality, is sensible.

It remains to be seen however whether anyone else will agree with me, or think it is worth pursuing. But if so, it will be interesting.

Loughton Parish Council is currently consulting on whether it should change its name to Loughton & Great Holm Parish Council. Please take our 2 minute online survey to let us have your views on this issue.

 

 

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New planning application re MacIntyre Centre, Great Holm

the mcintyre centre

The MacIntyre Centre in Great Holm has submitted an important application for planning permission to develop their site at Haddon, Great Holm

The planning application reference is 12/01026/FUL

The description of the application is :-

Part demolition and complete refurbishment of Moot Hall to provide administration, training, education and care facilities; new swimming pool, plunge pool and extended bakery and cafeteria; erection of three storey rear extension to provide 6 x units of specialist, mobility residential care accommodation with ancillary community roooms, cooking and laundrey facilities; associated access, parking, amenity space and landscaping. | Macintyre Care 54 Haddon Great HolmMilton KeynesMK8 9HP

You can view the application and supporting documents online via the milton keynes council planning portal and by quoting the planning application reference 12/01026/FUL

http://publicaccess2.milton-keynes.gov.uk/online-applications/search.do%3Bjsessionid%3D3033D5CC6DB84FD1B9CA82B0ECF6B5CA?action=simple&searchType=Application

Comments on the application can be submitted online using this link

http://publicaccess2.milton-keynes.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=makeComment&keyVal=M40EGRKW0AP00

The consultation and decision making timetable is as follows

Latest Neighbour Consultation Date:

15 May 2012

Neighbour Consultation Expiry Date:

12 Jun 2012

Standard Consultation Date:

16 May 2012

Standard Consultation Expiry Date:

06 Jun 2012

Last Advertised In Press Date:

 

Latest Advertisement Expiry Date:

 

Last Site Notice Posted Date:

22 May 2012

Latest Site Notice Expiry Date:

12 Jun 2012

 

Decision Issued Date:

 

Target Determination Date:

29 Jun 2012  
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Visit to the MacIntyre Centre

the mcintyre centre9am Monday morning finds me meeting Hilary, Joyce & Peter for a meeting with the Operations Manager for the MacIntyre Centre in Great Holm.

MacIntyre is a charity that has been delivering services to people with learning disabilities in Milton Keynes since 1988.

MacIntyre’s Head Office is in Central Milton Keynes, and the organisation employs around 250 staff locally. They support over 150 people with learning disabilities in the city, and this number is growing.

Their site at Great Holm is their main base in Milton Keynes, as it includes accommodation for 40 people, a centre offering educational and therapeutic activities and a coffee shop.

Over 100 people with a learning disability attend the Great Holm center every week, but the building is in need of updating to make it more accessible and provide some more space and better facilities. This will allow MacIntyre to continue offering a diverse range of activities, from literacy and numeracy to horticulture and music. They also want to open the building up to the community more, so that people can use their facilities and share their activities.

In the future they want to get out and about more in the community themselves.

To find out more about MacIntyre and get a flavour of what they do, why not visit www.macintyremiltonkeynes.org or drop in for lunch to one of their coffee shops or bakeries

Great Holm Coffee Shop and Bakery, 54 Haddon, Great Holm, MK8 9HP
Tel: 01908 265943
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9-3

This iconic building was built in the 1980s. It adjoins the MacIntyre Housing Association properties and enables the Centre to support those residents living in the community.

Next week, MacIntyre are holding public consultation events on their plans to modernise, improve and expand their operations. The hope to apply for planning permission in April 2012 and intend to close the centre for about a year from October 2012 to enable their redevelopment and expansion of facilities.

We viewed the plans and the site for the development. The need for the redevelopment is very apparent. 30 years on from opening, parts of the building need to be modernized. The controversial part of the plans relates to the size and location of the new development. Our group had concerns that the size of the building and its location at the entrance to Great Holm is unwelcome.

We encourage others to attend the public consultation meetings next week and to feed back comments on the proposals before they are finalized and lodged for planning permission. We would also welcome comments form parishioners on what they think of these proposals as we consider our response to the planning application.

We certainly had an interesting tour and it was lovely to see so many residents taking part in activities in such a happy and supportive environment. MacIntyre do excellent work and deserve recognition for it.

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