New steps to be taken on Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Hub

Written by Scott Campbell. Scott Campbell
Published at 01:09 on 30 January 2014.
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Plans went on display last week. Pic: NLC. Click to enlarge.

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THE next steps in the replacement of Cumbernauld’s ageing Muirfield Community Education Centre are being taken in the next week, as councillors prepare to back or bin plans to declare the facility’s football pitch surplus to requirements.

Brown Road’s Muirfield Community Education Centre is in for a multi-million pound rebuild, which will house a café, offices, nursery, allotment, conferences rooms, businesses and community groups.

Plans for the so-called ‘Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Hub’ were made public last year, after the council applied to the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, with  an announcement in November last year confirming that the Scottish Government would cough up £4million to help the authority progress with their plans.

The Scottish Government confirmed that they would pay-up £2million in 2014, with another £2million in 2015; the rest of the estimated £8million total cost will be met from the council and its corporate partners, such as Campsies Centre Cumbernauld Ltd.

After the Government’s announcement, council officials suggested a consultation would get underway in early 2014; a consultation which got underway last week, as members of the public got to have their say on the in-development plans for the new ‘Hub’, at various open days and evenings.

As we reported on January 21st, plans for the proposed ‘Hub’ went on display at the former Scan bookshop in Cumbernauld town centre (across from TSB), with an open evening held that tonight in the Muirfield.

Talking to Cumbernauld Media, one of the council’s Development Officers outlined the vision of the project, which would see the classroom half of the complex pulled down first, with the second half remaining in operation, as works got underway to start the new build. Then, the second half of the Muirfield Community Education Centre, which houses two halls, a nursery and an allotment would 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. 

Presently home to 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, the replacement of the Muirfield Community Education Centre will see the addition of a brand new café, with service users able to enter from either the new front entrance or side entrance, and pass a the new 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 told Cumbernauld Media, last week, that they were in discussions with Police Scotland, with a view to opening a new road adjacent to Farmfoods; allowing access from South Muirhead Road, to a brand new car park. New paths, green land, a play park and football pitch are also planned for the development, closer to Fleming Road. 

In numbers the new ‘Hub’ would 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, with the project expected to be complete by 2016.

The proposals for the new Hub now seem to be moving forward, with the project named on the agenda for February’s Learning and Leisure Services committee.

“The purpose of this report is to seek approval from Learning and Leisure Services Committee for a playing pitch adjacent to Muirfield Community Centre, Cumbernauld to be declared surplus to operational requirements in accordance with the council’s surplus land and buildings policy,” the agenda reads.
The agenda goes on to add: “In the Scottish Government’s regeneration strategy launched in December 201 I, it was announced that there would be a E25m annual fund made available from 2014/15. An ambitious project to develop a Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Centre on the existing site of Muirfield Community Centre was developed and led by the regeneration team in environmental services.

“The Director of Environmental Services took a paper to policy and resources sub committee in September 2013 outlining details of a regeneration capital grant funding (RCGF) submission that was to be made by his service to support the creation of a new Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Centre. That process has now moved on and learning and leisure services require to make the small playing pitch adjacent to Muirfield Community Centre surplus to operational requirements to allow the next phase of the project bidding to take place.”

The committee’s agenda goes on to discuss how the “project is now approaching the second stage of the bidding process”, adding that: “Discussions have taken place with the existing users of the facility and they are all fully supportive of the proposal. The existing tenants in the building will all be relocated to the new centre, if the project comes to fruition.”

Members of the committee have also been told that, “The declaring of the pitch and adjacent area as surplus to operational requirements is solely on the proviso that the proposed community enterprise centre development progresses. The outcome of the bidding process should be known within the next few months”, with the recommendations to be put before the Learning and Leisure Services committee, next week, calling upon members to declare the pitch “…surplus to operational requirements (on the basis that should the proposed Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Centre not proceed then the playing pitch and area adjacent to the pitch will be retained by learning and leisure services} to allow the next stage of the Cumbernauld Community Enterprise Centre Project to progress”. 

The council’s Learning and Leisure Services committee will meet on February 4th. 

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