News release from: 14/07/2023
Northstowe temporary community centre opens doors next week
A temporary community centre for Northstowe, which has been delivered by South Cambridgeshire District Council, will officially open on Monday (17 July) at 4pm.
The modular building was moved into position next to The Green, on Pathfinder Way, at the end of April. Since then, contractors have been working to fit the centre out and prepare it for use by residents and community groups. The building is located alongside the area earmarked for Northstowe’s permanent community centre. It is ideally placed for Northstowe residents to be able to reach by walking or cycling.
Anyone who wishes to book the community centre for a group or event can complete a booking form.
Part of the outside of building features artwork which has been created by the local community. The Northstowe Arts group worked with residents to design artwork inspired by nature in the new town. Many residents submitted photos of nature in Northstowe for inspiration, and others joined a workshop organised by Northstowe Arts, led by artist Syrah-Jade Arnold. Graphic designer Jeremy Kay then pulled the artwork together to create a wrap which has been placed around much of the exterior of the building.
The Council has agreed a landscaping scheme, to help enhance biodiversity in the area, and residents will also be able to be involved in the planting of the building’s enclosed rear garden. A planting day is being planned; people interested in attending can register their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The single-storey building includes a generous lobby with kitchenette and toilets, storage, and contains space for three offices, an NHS room, and two large community rooms which can be used for a wide range of activities for all ages including:
- Community cafes and pantry
- Baby and toddler groups
- Private hire for events such as birthday parties
- Children and youth activities
- Art workshops and events
- Meeting spaces for sport and activity groups
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Bill Handley, said: “In the past year, we’ve confirmed our plans to invest nearly £15 million to help fund – and bring forwards – community facilities in Northstowe. It’s fantastic to see the first of these opening now, with the sports pavilion to follow soon too. This temporary community centre will be well used by residents of all ages. The community-inspired artwork which has been wrapped around the building looks excellent; I’m grateful to Northstowe Arts, artist Syrah-Jade Arnold, graphic designer Jeremy Kay and all those residents who contributed to the striking visuals. The many local groups who want to take advantage of the centre can now start to confirm their plans for the weeks and months ahead. I’ve already been inside and am impressed; it’s a fantastic size with lots of space for activities, and the enclosed rear garden will be a pleasant addition too. This will be a new hub of community life in Northstowe whilst we progress our exciting plans for the permanent community centre, and I encourage Northstowe residents to make use of it and enjoy what it has to offer.”
District Councillor for Northstowe, Cllr Tom Bygott, commented: “It’s great to see the new temporary community centre for Northstowe so close to being up and running. I hope it will be well-used by the community. It is a dedicated space for local people, and I would urge the many excellent community groups in and around Northstowe to make full use of the new building.”
District Councillor for Northstowe, Cllr Natalie Warren-Green added: “I have been volunteering at the Northstowe Sunday Market, which is located just outside the temporary community centre, and while doing this I have been hearing from residents about how keen they are to use the facility. This being open is a positive step in the development of Northstowe. I look forward to seeing the café open, the large spaces inside being used by active community groups, the Communities Team working from a designated office here, and an NHS room being available. This is a very useful test facility for how the space is used and to gather feedback as the permanent community facility is built.”
To help mark the building’s opening, a community open day is being planned for later this year.
The Council has permission for the temporary community centre to be in-place for three years. There is disabled car parking and cycle racks, whilst additional parking is available at the terminus of Pathfinder Way and Park and Ride car park; both are a short walk from the venue.
The Council is responsible for building the permanent community centre, which is expected to be completed in winter 2025/26, as well as the sports pavilion, within the first phase of Northstowe.
Work on the sports pavilion is well underway and is expected to be completed in September. The pavilion will include a multi-use club room and catering facilities.
The Council is talking to Northstowe residents about what the permanent community centre, and wider area, might look like. The Council aims to submit a planning application soon, with construction expected to begin next year if approval is granted. The permanent community centre will be significantly larger than the temporary building.