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Campaign Gathers Pace To Transform Abandoned School Site Into Community Hub

Published on: 5 Jun, 2013
Updated on: 5 Jun, 2013

A new group has been formed with the aim of seeing that redundant school buildings in Park Barn are transformed into an exciting hub for community services and activities.

Pictured at the launch of the Pond Meadow Partnership, held at the Grassroots Marketplace, are, from left: John Thurlow from the Surrey Life Learning project, local resident and partnership member Marisa Goldsborough, Dr Ann Hennell from the Guildowns Group Practice, Cllr Julia McShane and Cllr Fioma White.

Pictured at the launch of the Pond Meadow Partnership, held at the Grassroots Marketplace on June 5, are, from left: John Thurlow from the Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership, local resident and partnership member Marisa Goldsborough, Dr Ann Hennell from the Guildowns Group Practice, Cllr Julia McShane and Cllr Fiona White.

The Pond Meadow Partnership wants to secure the site of the former Pond Meadow School to provide opportunities for the economic, social and environmental enhancement for the area. This it sees as being an innovative way to enhance the well-being of the Westborough and Park Barn community.

The initiative was sparked by local resident Wayne McShane (who is also the chairman of the Park Barn and Westborough Community Association), his wife Julia, a Guildford borough councillor, and Guildford West county councillor Fiona White.

Their initial investigation into the possibilities of transforming the Pond Meadow site was then adopted by the community association. However, it has now taken a giant leap forward as a number of other local organisations have joined the partnership.

They include the Guildowns Group [GP] Practice, the Spinney Children’s Centre, the Barn Youth Project, Kings College, and the Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership.

The partnership believes that there is huge potential for many more communally beneficial organisations to become involved; interest has already been expressed by Guildford College, Guildford YMCA and Voluntary Action South West Surrey.

A formal launch of the Pond Meadow Partnership took place today (June 5) at the Grassroots Marketplace held in St Clare’s Church, Park Barn.

Many local community groups and projects were also there, along with several members of the partnership who were on hand to answer questions and further discuss the project.

The partnership’s plan is to establish a health (GP, dental and pharmaceutical) centre in conjunction with the community projects.

From the community side it visualises a versatile space which could be utilised by many and diverse outreach projects such as adult learning, library services, gymnasium / fitness classes and local business, and so on.

It adds that the potential to develop the site and the prospective impact it could have in Park Barn and Westborough is huge to provide a centralised location to benefit everyone in the locality.

Some of the redundant buildings at what was once Pond Meadow School in Park Barn.

Some of the redundant buildings at what was once Pond Meadow School in Park Barn.

Local GP Ann Hennell (from the Guildowns Group Practice) said: “This area has clearly been identified as being in need of improved health facilities from work done by Public Health in the Health Needs Assessment carried out in 2012. The Oaks Surgery is unsuitable for 21st-century primary care, so we are delighted to be partners in this project. This is a superb opportunity to think of different ways to provide medical care.”

The chairman of trustees of the Barn Youth Project, Fred Smith, added:  “This is a very exciting venture and it would be particularly welcome to our project, as a dedicated youth centre on the site would give us an opportunity to expand our services for young people.”

The partnership is also receiving support from Guildford Rotary Club. Some of its members have offered their services giving advice about business plans, available grants and architectural advice.

The next step for the Pond Meadow Partnership is to secure funding for the feasibility study in support of the project. Alongside that, talks will continue with both Guildford Borough and Surrey County Councils, who own the site.

For more information contact Wayne McShane on 07990 592133. Also check out the Park Barn & Westborough Community Association’s Facebook page.

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test One Response to Campaign Gathers Pace To Transform Abandoned School Site Into Community Hub

  1. Colin McCarthy Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I fully support the Pond Meadow Partnership in their endeavours in putting the former
    site of Pond Meadow School to the best community use in Westborough.

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