Proposals to reorganise neighbourhood services

Published on 05 May 2016

PROPOSALS have been outlined to reorganise neighbourhood services in the north west of the city.

The plans – which cover Abbey, Beaumont Leys and Western wards – have been developed after extensive consultation with members of the public and community groups.

They include investing in Beaumont Leys library and the New Parks Centre library and housing office, to offer more services under the same roof.

As part of the proposals, Home Farm and Mowmacre neighbourhood housing offices would be relocated to Beaumont Leys Library, enabling customers to access a range of neighbourhood services in one building.

The Supporting Tenants and Residents (STAR) service – currently based at Marwood Road, in Stocking Farm – would also be relocated to the refurbished Beaumont Leys Library and offices.

Proposed improvements to Beaumont Leys Library include redecoration of the library space and community rooms, plus the installation of self-serve facilities that give residents more access to council services, more of the time.  

Under the plans, New Parks Centre library and housing office will be developed to offer more services. Adult learning classes will move from New Parks Community Centre to the first floor of the library, making better use of the training kitchen, IT suite and community rooms already in place at New Parks Centre. 

The current customer service centre at New Parks Centre would be changed to become an assisted self-service facility located in the library. This means there will be computers that customers can use to access services via the council website and other related websites. Free-to-use phones connecting to council services will also be available. Neighbourhood services staff will be on hand to help people access the new facilities.  

The space freed up would then be refurbished to create a new room for community use.

Services from the New Parks STAR office would be moved to the housing office at New Parks Centre, and the shop unit which STAR currently occupies would be re-let. Youth sessions would continue to run at New Parks Youth Centre, and local partners would be involved in helping increase use of the building.

The proposals would mean that the popular Tudor Centre will continue to deliver a range of services. There will be some investment in the building to allow key fob access, so that some community groups could open up the building for activities outside of regular opening hours.

New Parks Community Centre would be made available for lease in the short term, or demolished if there is no interest in leasing it.

Braunstone Frith Community Centre would be made available for community groups to run. If there is no initial interest, the council will work with partners to increase bookings and income at the centre.

Home Farm Community Centre would also be made available for community organisations to run, or marketed commercially if there is no community interest.

A range of alternative suggestions were made for the Stocking Farm Community, Healthy Living and Youth Centre complex during the consultation period. Further work will be undertaken to explore the alternative options put forward, in order to reduce the number of community buildings on the site.

Councillor Kirk Master, assistant city mayor responsible for neighbourhood services, said: “We know how important it is to people that they have easy access to a range of council services in their neighbourhood, and we’re committed to providing this.

“But the Government’s continued cuts mean we have to look at different ways in which we can provide these services in the future.

“By using our buildings better and investing in community centres that offer a range of services, we can concentrate on maintaining these services in neighbourhoods, where we know they are both valued and needed.

“In other areas of the city, this approach has worked very successfully, with the refurbishment of buildings like the Pork Pie Centre. We've also been able to increase opening hours and make better use of key community buildings.”

The proposals will now go to the council’s neighbourhood services scrutiny committee on 12 May for further comments, before a final decision is made by the council.