ABERGAVENNY Town Council is to write a letter in support of the revised scheme to convert the old Park Street School building into a community centre for the benefit of local residents.

At last week's meeting Councillor Marion Pearse explained to members that Abergavenny was different to all the other towns in Monmouthshire as it does not have its own community centre.

She pointed out that the area does have a range of halls, but each of them has a different use, which doesn't provide on a day by day basis a place where any people can just drop by for a chat and a cup of tea. She sited the Bridges Community Centre in Monmouth as their ideal model in which to follow.

Councillor Pearse added: "When Park Street School closed some seven years ago there was an immediate shout from the community to retain the building which was further strengthened by the sudden closure of the Tudor Street Day centre, which left a generation of people with nowhere to go.

"And as there was no similar amenity, the project known as the Abergavenny Community Centre was generated from those two closures."

In June 2011 the building was withdrawn from Monmouthshire County Council's sale of redundant buildings at the auction held in the Angel Hotel. Negotiations of a leasehold agreement between Abergavenny Community Centre and the Monmouthshire Council have been ongoing since then.

"Where are we today?" questioned Councillor Pearse and added: "Monmouthshire County Council have offered to lease the building and the rent payable, which is subject to substantial discount is affordable. The objectives of the scheme are many and varied and respond to what local residents say they will use.

"A detailed business plan has been prepared and is currently being fine tuned and this has yet to be agreed with the County Council.

"The scheme has had expressions of interest from The Charity Bank and Big Issue Invest, and an application for funding phase two of the plan is currently being prepared for submission to the Welsh Government's community facilities fund and Big Lottery's, People and Places Fund.

"It is our ambition to transform the existing sound yet redundant building to a multi use community resource which will facilitate among other things a drop in café, music and cultural exchange, community dining, a crèche, tutoring for pupils, community arts facility, room hire, a children's day nursery, holiday care facility and much more."

Members voted in favour of producing a letter that stated that Abergavenny Town Council supports in principle the aspiration to convert the old Park School building into a community centre for the benefit of Abergavenny residents.

Speaking afterwards Councillor Pearse, who is not standing for re-election said: ""Local leaders need to show they are responding to issues being raised at the grassroots, so it's really good to know that Abergavenny Town Council has given us their 100% backing, and approve of our proposal to turn the former infant school into a creative social hub for people to enjoy. " 

"We are creating a social business which just means that profits will go back into the business to support our social & environmental aims."

 "Fun Days At Esmes Nursery, Bull Art Community Arts and Sur le Pont Language Learning are our key partners, and they're committed to the ethos of the organisation and remain very eager to offer activities and services from the centre, just as soon as they can.

"At the heart of this new organisation are local people: living, working, raising families and getting old here and it's because of this close proximity and our relationships with other people, that we understand the kind of community that people want to be part of and grow older in."

For more information visit the website community-centre-abergavenny.com or contact Marion Pearse on 01873 859455.