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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Residents' association wants to create community centre

Major plans have been revealed to create a new community centre in Cockermouth.

Highfield Residents’ Association wants to turn the Evolution Centre, on Highfield Road, into a hub for the community.

Allerdale council took possession of the centre on December 19 and the lease held by Steve and Ally Michael was terminated.

The residents’ association at present uses old changing rooms as its temporary centre and for use by the football team.

Robert Chapman, association chairman, said the aim was for a new venue, at the Evolution Centre premises, to be open all day for pensioners and youngsters. It would be run on a volunteer basis.

He hoped to involve more people from the Slatefell estate area in its activities.

The group hopes to hold parties, coffee mornings, mother and toddler groups, homework groups and bingo nights there.

It is hoped that an alcohol licence can be obtained, books and board games provided and that the centre can be rented out to organisations such as Age UK, housing association Your Derwent & Solway and Cumbria police.

Mr Chapman said: “It will be brilliant to see people using it because in the past we have had to run events out of people’s garages.

“We want to put on activities throughout the day from 10am to 8.30pm so there is something for everybody.”

Allerdale council will move in to make sure everything is in order before it is turned into a community centre.

Councillors Alan Smith, Christine Smith and Len Davies have been working behind the scenes to help secure the centre for the community.

Mr Smith said: “The vision for the building is that it will become a real community hub. We are in the process of surveying the building and will be consulting widely with people living in Cockermouth.”

Mr Davies said: “This is a great opportunity.”

A spokesman for the Evolution Centre said: ““We want to keep it as a valuable community site. We believe they are legal issues so we will talk with our legal team before we can give a more detailed response.”

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