Plans for new Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Hub go on display

Written by Scott Campbell. Scott Campbell
Published at 16:56 on 21 January 2014.
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Culture NL will own the new facility. Logo: Culture NL.

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REGENERATION is the buzz word of 2014, apparently. Not only are plans afoot to transform the future of the UK’s first indoor shopping mall, overhaul Cumbernauld’s ageing school buildings and host the biggest Gala Day ever, in remembrance of World War One, but now it seems as if one of Cumbernauld’s community centres is due to say its final farewells soon. 

This evening local residents are being invited to head along to the former Seafar Primary School campus and learn more about the council’s plans to overhaul the ageing complex, known nowadays as the ‘Muirfield Community Education Centre’, which houses two large halls, a nursery, and allotments over two floors.

Presently community groups and organisations such as the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Community and Workplace Nursery, Careers Scotland, the ALPHA Project, Community Work and Community Learning and Development Area Teams and Unemployed Workers Centre are based in the two-floor complex.

Plans for the proposed future of the community facility were unveiled today in Cumbernauld town centre, with local residents and service users asked to make their views known about the plans.

Talking to Cumbernauld Media, one of the council’s Development Officers outlined the vision of the project, which will cost in the region of £8m, of which almost £5m is already dedicated.

The proposals would see the classroom half of the complex pulled down first, meaning that the community rooms would be demolished first, as works got underway to start the new build. Then, when it is safe to do so, the second half of the Muirfield Community Education Centre, which houses two halls, a nursery and an allotment will be demolished, with the new complex due to be complete shortly thereafter.

According to the Development Officer the works are expected to take around two years all in, with work planned to start this autumn, provided that all of the money has been raised, and the project is given backing from the authority, community groups, businesses and local residents.

Showing Cumbernauld Media the plans, the council officer explained how the existing land will be maximised, with one half of the building – facing down Brown Road, to be three levels high, with the second part of the complex pencilled in as being only one level, with a courtyard in the middle for the existing allotments, reception area and lifts – something which the existing centre doesn’t have.

A major part of the building will be to house offices and community group bases, with almost half of the first floor for offices, and the third floor nearly all for office space. The remaining portion of the first floor, which isn’t designed for offices, will become meeting rooms, with some rooms available to accommodate 24 people in seats; 60 people standing, with the centre specially designed to maximise natural light, and allow natural light to shine into the building through wide windows. 

The building will come in two connected halves. Picture: North Lanarkshire Council (CLICK FOR LARGER).

The replacement of the Muirfield Community Education Centre will also see another new addition – a café. Service users who enter from either the new front entrance or side entrance will pass a reception desk and café.

Meanwhile, residents hoping to drive to the centre will be able to do so via the existing Brown Road access, although council officers say they are in discussions with Police Scotland, with the view to opening a new road adjacent to Farmfoods, which would allow access from South Muirhead Road, to a brand new car park. Pedestrians will also be greeted with new paths and green land. 

The plans aim to keep all of the existing pavements, with the addition of more green land, a new play area and football pitch, as well as brand new pavements to and from Brown Road and Fleming Road.

The new centre, in numbers, will include 1000sqm of community space, 1000sqm office space for social enterprise businesses and groups, and an 8000sqm civic space will be created to include play and multi-use games area for all ages.

The development plans are available for members of the public to view until this Saturday (25th January), with a consultation evening due to take place tonight.

The centre is expected to open in 2016. Picture: North Lanarkshire Council (CLICK FOR LARGER).

Anyone who has any questions or wishes to view the plans can do so by visiting the consultation evening, and speaking to Development Officers, who will be on hand between 6pm and 8pm, tonight (21st January), at the Muirfield Community Education Centre.

The multi-million pound project is expected to get underway this autumn, with a new centre expected to open in 2016, under the new name of ‘Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Centre’.

For anybody who cannot make this evening’s event, the council have taken out a unit at 2-4 Spey Walk (adjacent to TSB) in Cumbernauld Town Centre, where a special exhibition of the designs for the new facility will be held until Saturday 25th January. The designs will also be on display in the Muirfield Centre until this Saturday.

Council regeneration convener Councillor David Fagan said: "This is an ambitious scheme which we hope will become a model for future community facilities throughout North Lanarkshire.

"The new centre will be more than a traditional community facility and instead become a hub for local groups, social enterprise and community businesses as well as hosting a wide variety of events.

"Already £4million has been provisionally secured from the Scottish Government's Regeneration Capital Fund with North Lanarkshire Council committing nearly £750,000 to date.

"We are working hard to secure the remaining funds."

Shirley Linton, Head of Planning and Regeneration Services said: "Work has been underway for some time to design the most effective development within budget.

"The development team have been consulting with key tenants of the existing centre and community representative groups.

"But now we need to share the proposals with the wider community and gather their views."

During construction, it is expected groups will be able to continue to use the existing Muirfield Community Centre.

A council spokesman added: "We have a decent strategy ready so we can protect the services currently operating from the site.

"On a project of this scale there will undoubtedly be some disruption, but we are doing our best to ensure it will be kept to a minimum."

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