Keep centre away from drugs

A CLEVEDON councillor is appealing to North Somerset Council to consider a new site for a children s centre in the town.

A CLEVEDON councillor is appealing to North Somerset Council to consider a new site for a children's centre in the town.

Councillors at the authority's North Area Committee meeting, on January 10, voted in favour of deferring a controversial planning application to turn The Barn in Clevedon into a children's centre so objections could be considered.

But ward councillor for Clevedon Central, Stanley Vyce, is appealing for North Somerset to consider building the centre on council-owned wasteland in Strode Road, behind Mary Elton Primary School.

Mr Vyce said: "The building would be on wasteland rather than a playing field, the site is not in the centre of a residential area and has good access off a main road and the children's centre would be next to a school.

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"The current site, next to The Barn, is well-known as an area where alcohol and drug abuse takes place and I don't think that putting a children's centre in such an area is a wise decision."

A number of concerns have been raised about the current proposal, to add a two storey and single storey extension to the building in Great Western Road as well as a staff car park, which would be built over a popular play area.

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Residents are concerned about the extra noise and traffic in their neighbourhoods and the impact it will have on the play area.

People living in Churchill Avenue also raised fears that centre users would be able to see into their upstairs windows, but the design has now been changed so there are no windows in the wall which faces the properties.

The centre would run post natal groups, toddler groups and offer support for people suffering from domestic violence or mental health problems.

Cllr Jeremy Blatchford, executive member for children and young people's services, said a children's centre would be an asset to the town and appealed to councillors to try to resolve the issues.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Vyce said: "I am pleased that the decision has been deferred as it gives us another chance to resolve the issues that have been raised by moving the proposal to a different site, or by amending the plan for the current site.

"I am not against the construction of the children's centre, but I do feel North Somerset Council should listen to its residents and accommodate their views.

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