“EVERYTHING is still open – nothing is off the table” – that was the verdict of Council Leader Matt Dormer over the re-development of the district centres at Matchborough and Winyates.
“We will work with everyone to find an amicable solution for whatever presents itself to us,” added Coun Dormer (Con, West).
His comments come after some shopkeepers and residents around Winyates Centre spoke of their fears the local community they have built up over decades might be destroyed by any redevelopment.
They voiced a strong desire for a revamp of the centre rather than a demolition and re-build.
“Everyone is in the dark about what is happening – all we’re being told is that we’ll know what’s going on when the council finds its development partner, but surely by then it will be too late?” said Liz Williams who manages The Space in Winyates.
One fear is what will happen to residents living in the flats above and around the centre.
“We have people who have lived here for years and they don’t want their homes knocked down and put somewhere else,” said Julie Skipp outside Winyates Playgroup.
“This place has been neglected for years and all it needs is refurbishment and updating,” said Jen Thomas.
Toni Gardener at Winyates Opticians worried about how the elderly would get on if a new centre was built away from the current residential area.
“If the centre changes they’re going to struggle to get to Matchborough,” she said.
Down the road in Matchborough people were much more positive about the planned redevelopment.
“We’re quite happy to go with the flow,” said Sarah Lee, director and principal coach at Matchborough Boxing Club.
“The buildings are tired, the roofs leak, but we have a big role in this community and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re proposing.”
Pharmacist Jon Warton from the chemist shop added: “From what I gather it’s still going to be two centres and from our point of view what we need is to remain accessible to patients with continuity of service.
“This centre needs something doing to it; there’s an anti social problem, the lay out is not right for the area and it needs something doing to it, and we are keen on that.”
Theo Elinas who owns the award winning Golden Carp in Matchbough and Winyates Chippy said: “I like to think we bring a lot of people to both centres.
“For me, given that they have so many people living in Winyates Centre it’s more realistic to refurbish it and rebuild Matchborough but at the moment there is nothing definite.”
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