Boost for Blacon as package of measures unveiled to address residents' priorities

9 February 2016

Proposals to protect Blacon’s open spaces and to invest £250,000 in youth services and employment opportunities for local residents have been unveiled.

A key issue raised during last year’s public consultation was the need for further safeguards to protect the open spaces proposed to transfer from Cheshire West and Chester Council to Avenue Services ownership.

To address this, the Council has proposed additional measures that would enhance the protection of key areas of open space at King George V Playing Fields, Shelley Road, Milton Road, Graham Road and Saxon Way.

The extra safeguards would be in addition to those already in place to ensure these assets are protected and used only for the benefit of the community.

Kipling Road playing field has been removed from the list of assets for proposed transfer and opportunities will now be explored with the school for increased local use.

These changes mean that a requirement to seek ratification for the transfer from the Secretary of State is no longer necessary.

On March 16 the Council’s Cabinet will consider the proposed asset transfer - which would place a number of open spaces and public sector buildings in Avenue Services’ ownership - together with a proposed £250,000 investment in the Blacon community.

Since its launch in 2012, Avenue Services has undertaken extensive community engagement around the delivery of local services and the future management of local assets.

Two of the issues highlighted as key community priorities - improving youth services and activities and increasing local employment opportunities - are now set to benefit from a major funding boost.

The responsibility for co-ordinating and delivering youth services is proposed to be transferred from the Council to Avenue Services, along with a commitment to protect the current investment in these services.

A £150,000 investment is proposed for play facilities across Blacon as well as a recent upgrade of facilities at Blacon Adventure Playground.
Avenue Services would also explore more ambitious plans to engage with and support young people, and commit to work towards a permanent youth facility at the Cairns Crescent site.
The Council is proposing to invest £100,000 of regeneration funding to enable Avenue Services to create local employment opportunities which could be supported by the facilities and resources at the new Parade Enterprise Centre.

Local Councillor Reggie Jones, a member of the Avenue Services Board, said: “Avenue Services was created to be responsive to the local community - to listen to their views, respond to their priorities and ensure residents are at the heart of decision-making.

“The people of Blacon have told us that they want to see improved youth services and activities, more local employment opportunities and extra protection for our cherished public open spaces.

“In partnership with the Council and Sanctuary Group, Avenue Services has listened and responded by outlining measures that will see more than £250,000 invested in these key community priorities.” The proposed investment and transfer of assets, which would place a number of open spaces and public sector buildings in Avenue Services ownership, will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet on 16 March.

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