New centre would tackle town deprivation

PUBLISHED: 13:00 11 October 2011

Views of High Street, Weston. Next to Italian Gardens.

Views of High Street, Weston. Next to Italian Gardens.

Archant

SOME areas in Weston are ranked in the most deprived areas in the country - and one town councillor is calling for more services to tackle the problem.

Cllr Mike Lyall believes a new multi-purpose campus incorporating services for young and old people would help to combat the problem, and will be looking to work with both North Somerset Council and Weston Town Council to realise his dream.

According to the English indices of deprivation released by the Government in 2010, the gap between the wealthy and the poor in North Somerset is widening all the time.

In the Department for Communities and Local Government figures, North Somerset is grouped into 124 areas comprising around 1,500 residents each, and the figures say the top half has generally improved while the bottom half has declined since 2007.

Fifteen of these areas fall within the most deprived 25 per cent of areas nationally, with all of them in Weston.

The figures take into account a variety of factors, including income, employment, health, crime and the living environment.

According to the figures, among the areas in the bottom one per cent nationally are Byron Road and Argyle Avenue which were not among the most deprived in 2007.

In contrast, The Vale in Portishead, and Dark Lane and Church Town in Backwell are among the top one per cent nationally.

North Somerset has the seventh largest range of inequality in England – and the biggest south of Chester.

Cllr Lyall, town councillor for Earlham ward, said: “This is a big problem which needs to be tackled, as the deprivation has gotten worse and will only continue to do so unless we do something about it.

“I’ve lived in Weston all my life, and it’s shocking to think that some of the areas in the part of town I know so well are ranked at the very bottom.”

Cllr Lyall said the new multi-purpose centre, which he believes should be at the site of Ashcombe Primary School in Earlham Grove and would also encompass Ashcombe Children’s Centre, a Citizens’ Advice Bureau and a day centre for older people.

He continued: “A lot of the deprivation comes from the fact there is nothing for people to do: a centre like this would give both older and younger people much more to do.

“It is only at a very early stage but I really hope the councils and community can communicate to do something about this problem.”

* Do you think a new centre would help to tackle deprivation? Leave your thoughts below.

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