Grassroots campaign steps up to save Sandhills community house

The campaigners with their petition outside Sandhills community house

The campaigners with their petition outside Sandhills community house

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Momentum is building behind a campaign to save a Leighton Buzzard community house after a petition of more than 1,000 signatures was presented to Central Bedfordshire Council.

The building on the Sandhills estate opened in 2011 to help residents of the fledgling estate settle in, with an arrangement that it would return to developers Arnold White Estates in 2016.

As CBC plans to continue running the activities from other facilities, the campaign group to save it has submitted the petition of over 1000 signatures.

The campaign, Keep Sandhills Community House, stated to the LBO: “The petition is in response to the council performing a u-turn on their promises to provide a second community house when the present one closes in April 2016.

“Instead, £1.5m was given to fund Astral Park – a commercial building.

“Despite having received well over a million pounds in S106 money generated from the building of Sandhills, the council are reluctant to spend any of it for the benefit of the residents. To date, they have spent just £70,000 on community facilities.”

The future of the community house has been a source of bitter dispute between campaigners and CBC councillors, with a continual disagreement over what had been promised.

Cllr Amanda Dodwell previously told the LBO: “We have over several years tried to communicate with supporters of the community house that it would close in 2016, but unfortunately some have tried to shy away from this truth.

“Indeed, while Voluntary Community Action (VCA) have done an excellent job of running the community house over the past five years, they have failed to manage the expectations of users.

“VCA have known from the outset that this was a five-year project.”

Cllr Dodwell said there were plenty of other community activities for the group, adding: “If you talk to residents across the town they will tell you what a wonderful town Leighton-Linslade is, and just how much is going on.”

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