Consultation item

Lucerne Neighbourhood Centre

The council would like your views on the future of Lucerne Neighbourhood Centre.

 

We have looked at who is using the centre and a number of different options for its future:

 

Option 1: Rent the building to an outside organisation to operate

 

Option 2: Sell the building

 

Option 3: Close the centre and build council houses on the site

 

Option 4: Keep the building available, but opened on a bookings-only basis

 

Option 5: Keep the centre under council management and continue to run it in the same way as it is today

 

We think Option 3 is the best way forward, which means closing Lucerne Neighbourhood Centre and building housing on the site. Our preferred option would be to build social housing. 

 

Our plan would be that activities that currently take place at the centre, such as children and youth groups, would be relocated to a venue that is accessible to young people on the estate. We will be contacting the young people who attend sessions separately to find out what they think.

 

We feel this is the best option because:

 

The centre is not well used by the community 

 

Because the centre is not well used, it costs the council a lot to run - the cost to the council per user of the centre is £8.87

 

The building needs a lot of money spending on repairing it 

 

Seasalter Christian Centre is close by and offers a wide range of similar services, including youth and family activities and meeting rooms for hire

 

Any proposals to develop council housing on the site would have to be thought about carefully.

 

We would obviously like to build as many homes as possible on the site, but the amount we could build might be limited by the need to demolish the neighbourhood centre and possibly to relocate the ball court and the water pumping station.

 

Until we definitely know how we would deal with these issues, we think the site could be used to provide at least two council houses or four flats, or at most six to eight houses or 12 to 16 flats. 

 

This would need further work, including professional advice and design studies, as well as making sure the plans are financially viable. Planning permission would also be needed.

 

The advantages and disadvantages that we see of each way of doing things are explained below.

 

 

Advantages

Disadvantages

Option 1: Rent the building to an outside organisation to operate

Would bring in extra money for the council - likely up to £7,400 a year

 

Could provide an alternative facilities to benefit residents

The council would still be responsible for maintenance costs

 

The building needs £23,500 spending on repairs over the next five years

 

Activities could be delivered from a different location but people might not want to use it

Option 2: Sell the building

Would bring in extra money for the council - likely around £165,000 based on its current use or £100,000 for an alternative use

Activities could be delivered from a different location but people might not want to use it

Option 3: Close the centre and build council houses on the site

Would provide more housing, which there is a shortage of in Whitstable

Activities could be delivered from a different location but people might not want to use it

Option 4: Keep the building available, but opened on a bookings-only basis

The building would still be available for people wanting to hire it

The council would still be responsible for maintenance costs

 

The building needs £23,500 spending on repairs over the next five years

 

Activities could be delivered from a different location but people might not want to use it

Option 5: Keep the centre under council management and continue to run it in the same way as it is today

Existing activities would continue to be delivered from the centre

 

Potential to seek extra funding to increase the number and range of activities provided

The centre is not well used by the community

 

Because the centre is not well used, it costs the council a lot to run - the cost to the council per user of the centre is £8.87

 

The council would still be responsible for maintenance costs

 

The building needs £23,500 spending on repairs over the next five years

 

The centre would need to pay for ongoing staffing and building maintenance 

 

It would be difficult to bring in extra money from renting the centre

 

Have your say

 

Give us your views by completing our questionnaire by 5pm on Friday 12 March 2021.

 

We will be running two online meetings for this consultation, this will include further information on the consultation, the plans we hope to put in place for the site and an opportunity for you to ask questions. 

 

These will take place on Thursday 11 February 4pm to 5pm and Thursday 25 February 4pm to 5pm. 

If you wish to join one of these sessions, please do contact us on [email protected] for the meeting details. 

All the feedback we receive will be reported to councillors before they make a final decision.