Since RBK proposed the increased rental costs for the St Mary’s Hall late last year, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) established a Working Group to explore all viable options that would enable them to maintain a community presence on the site. The PCC met on 30 March 2016 and considered a report from its Working Group into future options for the St Mary’s Centre.
The PCC noted that the Working Group (WG) had met on several occasions and considered a range of options. One …such option was to work in partnership with YMCA London South West (YMCALSW), a local Christian charity, to develop a brand new, fit for purpose, community centre. In addition, the new development would also include around 30 affordable homes.
The PCC agreed that of the options considered, this was the preferred option, in terms of securing the future of the Centre for the benefit of both the local community and church. It was therefore agreed that discussions with YMCALSW should continue.
Preliminary discussions between the PCC, the Working Group and YMCALSW have indicated that the YMCA would be able to bring substantial experience and expertise to bear to develop and broaden the range of activities that currently take place in the centre to ensure the optimum use of the centre for the benefit of the whole community. This could include pre and post school clubs, other health and wellbeing and pastoral activities for all ages and a community café. The housing element would offer affordable homes for young working people or those in full time education leading to employment. There are no plans to develop a YMCA hostel.
It should be noted that at this stage:
- no firm decisions have been made other than for the St Mary’s team to continue to discuss the development in greater detail with YMCALSW;
- no designs have been finalised. Clearly, as part of any planning process there would need to be proper consultation with residents and the community, and any design would of course need to reflect the local environment; andYMCALSW is not yet in a position to confirm the financial viability of any proposals, since discussions with the Council are still in progress.
- It is hoped that substantial progress between YMCALSW and the RBK will be made during April and that a further meeting, open to the public, will therefore be appropriate in early May.
At that meeting we would like to introduce our prospective partners and discuss with the community what we believe will be exciting and positive proposals for the site.
The date for this open meeting will be Tuesday 3rd May at 7.30pm in St Mary’s Centre.
Revd Scott Edwards. Vicar
St Mary’s Church, Chessington
31st March 2016