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‘Broken promise’ to Alvechurch youth

Posted on December 16 2009 at 5:52:24

THE YOUNG PEOPLE of Alvechurch have been let down by the failure to deliver on promises of “community use” at schools in the village, it has been claimed.

A public forum of around 100 residents heard that while teenagers were left to hang about on cold street corners, the facilities at the new schools remained locked and out of reach.

The forum, held in the main hall of the schools, was called by Bromsgrove Community Safety Partnership after complaints about young people at the Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) in Swans’ Length, Alvechurch.

A former governor of the first school told the meeting: “We were told as governors that this would be a community project, but the gates are locked at night and it is wasted.”

Another resident, Syd Caddick, said: “Worcestershire County Council told us this was going to be a community facility, but suddenly the rules changed and now it is a terrible waste of a building.”

Bromsgrove councillor Jean Luck said:  “It cost £6 million to build and the grandchildren of some of the people here are still going to be paying for it, but it is locked away.
“The facilities are here, the security is here, but it is empty every night.”

The meeting aimed to be positive and a number of those present, including some teenagers, said there was a lack of facilities for young people.

One mother of a 15-year-old said: ”There is nowhere for him to go – why is there not somewhere for boys of that age? My son is a good lad and so are his friends; we are not doing them justice, we are letting them down.”

Resident Sarah Morgan, who acted as a spokeswoman for people opposed to the MUGA on Swans’ Length, said “Two householders are on medication as a direct result of it.”
A precedent had been set in Birmingham for removal of the MUGA and it could be put on The Meadows playing fields instead.

The forum agreed to set up a residents group to work with “Safer Bromsgrove” officers to come up with practical solutions, and their efforts would be reported to another public forum in three months.

For the record, The Village magazine reported in June 2005 the words of Peter Parkes, the county council manager of the project to build the new schools.  “It will be a fabulous facility for the village,” he said.
“It could be open 300 days a year or more and will be open from 8am until whatever time at night is viable. That’s the idea of having these community use schools.”
These sentiments were echoed by county council leader George Lord at the sod cutting for the new site in October 2006. It would be a facility for everyone, he said: “Not a community centre, but very much for use by the community.”

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