SPADES are in the ground at last for Kingsway’s new community centre.
Construction workers moved onto the site of the new centre for the first time this week.
Gill White, social secretary for the Kingsway Resident’s Association, welcomed the start after the project was set back by several weeks. She said: “I am glad that work is finally starting. I did say work would begin in January and I was right.
“I don’t know why it has taken this long but things are progressing now. I’ve lived here for three years and this has been a long time in the coming.
“It is going to make a lot of difference to the community here.
“We’ve already got one small community centre but it isn’t really in the centre of everything and this new centre is going to be a great home for all the groups that need a place to meet.
“People will be very pleased to see it when the building starts to go up.”
Quedgeley Urban Village Limited, a consortium of housing developers, is building the centre opposite the Kingsway shopping district and just a stone’s throw from Kingsway Primary School.
It is due to be completed in the summer when it will be handed over to Gloucester City Council.
Council bosses will start a tendering process before the summer to find a community-led organisation to run the centre. They will be charged a ‘fair’ rent and a lease of up to 25 years is expected.
Quedgeley Parish Council are the front-runners to take the site on as they already run the existing centre on the estate along with the Waterwells Sports Centre.
But some councillors have argued that the tendering process should have started sooner. Parish councillor Julian Powell said: “If we are going to build running this centre into our budget then we really need to know what is going to happen with it.
“The tender process should have been completed by January but that isn’t going to happen.”
Sports facilities, including a pavilion and grounds, are also being created on the site and a separate tender will be issued for those.
The facilities have been paid for by developers, who agreed to build them when the level of housing development at Kingsway had passed a certain point. Some 3,300 homes will be occupied in Kingsway when the estate is complete.