Whitnash Mayor, Cllr Adrian Barton, in the presence of honoured guests including the Mayors of Kenilworth, Warwick, and Leamington, leader of Warwick District Council, Andrew Day, chairman of Warwick District Council, Cllr Neale Murphy, joint project leader, Cllr Judy Falp, representatives from Deeley Construction, and members of the Library Service all attended the opening ceremony.
The building of the much-anticipated £2.5 million Civic Centre and Library for Whitnash is complete. The new centre includes a multi-use sports hall, the Whitnash Library, a brand-new community café, a meeting /conference room, and offices for Whitnash Town Council.
Bringing all these facilities together under one roof represents a major improvement for the town, and the new sports hall is significantly larger than the old community centre hall, which has served the town since the mid-1970s.
This project represents a major investment and is built on years of hard work, vision and teamwork needed to create a modern Civic Centre and Library fit for the future of a growing and changing town.
Whitnash was the first town in the district to have its own Neighbourhood Plan approved and adopted. This was thanks largely to long term Whitnash Residents Association District councillor, Judy Falp, who chaired the Neighbourhood Plan working group of town councillors and local residents, together with a consulting company, who developed the detail of the plan. The plan was then put to a local referendum and approved.
One of the main priorities to come out of the Neighbourhood Plan was the need for a new community centre and library. The existing community centre was deemed to be past its use-by date, and there was concern that the existing library could be forced to close in the longer term. The current library also housed the Town Council office facilities, and so the council would also have had to relocate in the event of the library closing.
Once the plan had been approved, the Town Council set about investigating what would be needed to make the aspiration for a new community centre a reality. A working group was set up, led by Cllrs Tony Heath and Judy Falp, that involved town councillors, the council office team, representatives of Warwick District Council, Warwickshire County Council, other local community groups, and consultants ATI Projects, to try to define what the project might look like, and how much it was likely to cost.
This was a project very close to Cllr Tony Heath’s heart. As a long term Whitnash councillor and resident, as well as being one of the founding members of the Whitnash Residents Association, Tony had long had an ambition to see the aging 1970s community centre replaced with something better for the future. He spoke about it during his time as Whitnash Mayor as long ago as 2001/2.
The working group, together with architects Bailey Garner, came up with several schemes, one of which was selected to be the final design of building. The scheme has been funded thanks to contributions from Warwick District Council, Sport England, Warwickshire Country Council and also a public works loan. An online crowdfunding initiative raised an additional £20k for external elements such as landscaping, parking, and bike racks etc.
In his speech before cutting the ribbon, Cllr Adrian Barton paid tribute to all those who had been involved, especially his colleague and mentor Tony Heath, who sadly passed away a couple of months ago, and never got to see the fruits of his labour over many years finally finished.
Cllr Barton also thanked the many organisations that had been involved in helping to make the project a reality, including Warwick District Council, Warwickshire County Council, and developers Deeley Construction. He also paid tribute to the Whitnash Town Council office staff, who had been involved in the project from start to finish, and also to Cllr Judy Falp, who along with Tony Heath, had worked so tirelessly on the project for so many years.
Cllr Judy Falp then spoke to pay tribute to former Whitnash councillor, Bernard Kirton, who sadly passed away last year. Bernard had been a formidable force in Whitnash over several decades, setting up the Whitnash Ratepayers Association (latterly the Whitnash Residents Association) with Tony Heath following a fall out with the local Labour Party in the 1970s. She went on to mention that Bernard arrived in Whitnash in the 1960s, and was met by a town with very few, if any, facilities. Over the years, he fought to improve facilities, and the opening of the new Civic Centre and Library is a continuation of that drive and passion for the town.
Bernard Kirton is honoured in the new Civic Centre by having the new meeting/conference room named after him. Cllr Falp unveiled the plaque on the door to the room, together with Bernard’s son, Mark.
Before the dignitaries and public were allowed to look around the new building, Cllr Barton had one more duty to perform. With Tony Heath’s family present, Cllr Barton spoke again about Cllr Heath’s involvement in the project, and unveiled a plaque over the door to the new community hall itself, which named the hall after Cllr Heath as a recognition of all the work he had done to make the project happen.
The sports hall has two badminton courts for hire, but is also available to hire as a space for classes and groups, and for hosting shows, plays and gigs. Many local exercise groups have already signed up to hire the hall. The meeting room will also be available for hire to the public and will be suitable for hosting meetings, team building, interviews or hot desking. The room has a large screen to show presentations, and will have a high-speed internet connection.
Independent cafe operator Blenz Café will be operating the new café within the Civic Centre building. This is a brand-new venture for Charlotte, a local resident, who is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring her enterprise to life. She will be serving speciality coffee, tea and soft drinks, and sourdough toasties along with pastries and cakes.
As part of the project, the two football pitches and rugby pitch at Acre Close Park have been reseeded and renovated, although these will not be available until next year once they have been established. The skate ramp has also been moved and improved, along with the Whitnash wheel of fitness outdoor exercise equipment. Whitnash Town Council are also working to secure a grant to reinstate the measured mile at Washbourne Fields in the near future.
To can also view time-lapse photography showing how the build progressed and for more information visit www.whitnashciviccentre.uk
Robert Wright Drive can be found on a new housing scheme in Wyken being delivered by Deeley Group’s Affordable Living division.
The development is being delivered in partnership with housing provider Stonewater and will see the construction of 39 affordable new homes on Tiverton Road.
Robert was born in Hillfields in 1951 and ordained as Roman Catholic Priest in 1977. He served in Bicester, Nuneaton, Redditch and as Chaplain to the West Indian community in Birmingham, before returning to his home city of Coventry as Parish Priest of St John Fisher in Wyken in 1995.
In his time at St John Fisher he ministered at St John Fisher and St Gregory primary schools and worked closely with children at Cardinal Wiseman School, as part of his work with the Romero Academy.
He was a lifelong Coventry City fan and a season ticket holder for many years, attending home games when his parish commitments would allow. He ensured the church played a key role in the community and the church was a caring, inclusive and supportive place to worship and learn.
Liz Carr, Robert’s sister and a former teacher at St Augustine’s School, said: “We were delighted to hear that a road was being named after Rob, especially given its proximity to St. John Fisher‘s Church, his home for 25 years.
“He spent many happy years there, serving his parish and the local community, devoting his life to his ministry.
“He was especially happy given that Coventry was his home town, and being a lifelong supporter of Coventry City, he could easily make the home games and get back for Saturday evening mass.
“Whilst he would have been embarrassed at the thought of a road being named after him, his family and friends are really proud, as it is testimony to his hard work and commitment, and the regard he is held in, by all those who knew him.”
Peter Deeley, managing director of Deeley Group, added: “We have been working in the community here in Wyken for many years and for the last quarter of a century Father Bob has been right at the heart of that community.
“It is fitting and rightful honour for a great man who had such a profound impact on those he met and supported during his life. We hope that he would be supportive of our development at Tiverton Road and the creation of new affordable homes for the community which held him in such high regard.”
The new development at Tiverton Road will comprise of 23 affordable rented and 16 shared ownership properties, which will be a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes.
Matt Crucefix, Director of Development (South and West) at Stonewater, said: “Building new homes should be centred around tackling local housing demand, whilst also enabling new residents to embed themselves within the existing community and its history.
“Naming one of the development’s roads after this highly respected individual is not only a great way to continue celebrating his work in the area but also presents an exciting opportunity for community building with both new and existing residents.”
A Midlands developer has completed work to create a new drive-thru Costa in Wolverhampton and the coffee restaurant is now open for business.
Deeley Group, which is headquartered in Coventry, has delivered the new coffee restaurant on the Birmingham New Road and Spring Road junction.
The land was acquired from the neighbouring Forty Four Club which has invested the proceeds of the land sale into the club and its facilities.
Deeley Properties worked in partnership with Ziran Land to bring forward the scheme and Deeley Construction, another division of the Deeley Group, completed the £1.6 million seven month, development.
The drive-thru is on one of the primary routes between Wolverhampton and Birmingham and has created five full-time and 12 part-time jobs. A 15-year lease has been signed by Costa for the new unit.
Four of the UK’s most powerful electric vehicle charging stations have been installed on the site. The first of their kind in the UK, the chargers have been installed by Osprey Charging Network and each provides power of up to 150kW, meaning they are future-proofed for the next generation of electric vehicle technology.
Andrew Brazier, development consultant to Deeley Properties, said: “The new Costa drive-thru is already proving popular with people in the local area and those travelling between Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
“This has been a great example of the flexibility and versatility of the Deeley Group and how our expertise across a range of areas enables us the company to deliver an end-to-end service on a development.
“The development has already had a positive impact on the community with investment in the Forty Four Club and new jobs created at the Costa.
“Roadside retail is a sector that continues to thrive and Costa signing a 15 year lease on this site is evidence of the sector’s strength.”
John Liggins, Managing Director at Ziran Land, added: “Finding this high profile site and bringing it forward for development has been challenging due to its brownfield status within a former mining area. But the team has delivered a development which is a magnificent aspect onto the Birmingham New Road”.
Patrick Sherriff, Property Director for Osprey Charging Network, said: “With more electric vehicles registered in September and October this year than diesel vehicles, it’s natural that brilliant roadside locations such as this will now host high-power charging stations. Osprey are delighted that the first of over 30 charging hubs in development will serve both the local and en-route electric vehicle drivers of the Midlands.”
Holt Commercial acted in the investment sale for the completed property to Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society. Wade and Partners acted on behalf of the investor.
PICTURE CAPTION: From left to right – John Liggins, Patrick Sherriff and Andrew Brazier.
Woodside Care Village in Warwick, run by local charity WCS Care and constructed by Midlands-based Deeley Construction, has picked up the LABC People & Place Award for New Housing – Best Purpose Built Accommodation in the West Midlands.
As a regional winner, the Deeley Group will have the chance to take home a national prize at a ceremony at Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London, where they will be joined by other finalists from across the country in the New Year.
Designed by Warwick-based Robothams, Woodside Care Village is a care home with 12 family-sized households, decorated in one of three lifestyles based on town, country and classical living. Up to seven people, who share similar care needs, interests and backgrounds, live together in each house, supported by a team of staff.
Two of the households are dedicated to the charity’s deaf service, Deafinitely Independent, and are supported by staff trained in British Sign Language.
The village has its own spa, as well an outdoor plaza – accessed by external walkways – featuring a hair salon, cinema, shop, launderette, and gardens with a bike track, outdoor gym equipment and water features.
Inside, each household has been fitted with circadian rhythm lighting which mimics natural light and helps reset the body clock of people living with dementia, which has benefits to wellbeing.
Night-time acoustic monitoring is another feature installed in rooms – it listens out for unusual sounds and sends an alert to a manager monitoring the system, who can make a decision about whether a carer is needed, ending the need for disruptive hourly door knocking throughout the night and leading to a better night’s sleep for residents.
Ed Russell, Chief Executive of WCS Care, said: “We’re delighted that Woodside Care Village has been recognised for its innovative design and construction regionally – and are keeping our fingers crossed ahead of the national finals.
“Design is fundamental to supporting us with our approach to care and we’ve challenged typical thinking about what a care home looks like. It means we’re able to really focus on quality of life, providing plenty of opportunities for people to continue enjoying what they’ve always done.”
Steve Turner, Construction Director at Deeley Construction, said: “The design of the building, combined with the quality of care delivered by WCS Care, ensures that each resident maintains the sense of freedom and independence they’re used to, along with support if and when they need it.
“Features such as the outdoor plaza – where the shop, launderette and hair salon are – would look at home on any high street with shopfronts and signage to give them a real community feel, and the smaller households are more representative to what people are used to.
“It’s fantastic to hear that we have been named as a finalist in the national LABC People & Place Awards for this project, as it is one that we are extremely proud of given the positive impact it is having on people living inside the home and in the wider community, while highlighting the high quality of work that was delivered.”
Representatives of the steering group at the Great Western Park Urban Extension development near Didcot opted to name the new Extra Care Living aspect Poppy Meadows, in recognition of the local medicinal opium field.
The scheme will be delivered by Housing 21, the country’s leading provider of Retirement and Extra Care Living and will include 80 new apartments alongside communal facilities for people over the age of 55.
Debbie Hope, Head of Development at Housing 21, said: “We are delighted that in building a scheme that focuses on what people will need in the future, we have not forgotten the history of the site and that is reflected in the name, Poppy Meadows. We always aspire to ensure our schemes retain strong links to the community and this is a great way to embed the development right from the beginning.
“Poppy Meadows will be a modern Extra Care scheme which will allow over 55s to live independently in their home, with the reassurance that if and when care is needed, there will be an on-site Care Team available 24/7 to offer tailored support. We are looking forward to progressing with the development and welcoming our first residents to their new home from early 2023.”
The development on land at Greenwood Way is expected to be completed in December 2022 and has received funding from the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal. The first residents are expected to move in from January 2023.
The name Poppy Meadows was chosen from a list of suggestions put forward by Housing 21, with representations from the local authorities, Oxfordshire Commissioning Groups and contractors voting for their favourite. In addition, all of the local street names are associated with flowers and trees.
Cllr Judy Roberts, Cabinet Member for Development and Infrastructure at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We’re excited to add our support for the new homes as part of the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal. The building of 80 new apartments at Poppy Meadows shows that we’re delivering on our commitment to help provide affordable homes for local people. We look forward to welcoming residents and their pets moving in, and becoming part of the Vale of White Horse and Great Western Park community in early 2023.”
The scheme will be available to people over the age of 55 and of modest means, with 60 apartments available for social rent and a further 20 available for shared ownership. There will also be on-site communal facilities including a café/ bistro, hair salon and communal lounge for use by residents and the local community.
Poppy Meadows has been designed to be centred around an open internal courtyard providing an open green space for residents to enjoy, with three linked blocks arranged around it for the apartments and communal spaces.
The project was secured by Midlands’ developer Deeley Construction via the Homes England DPP3 (Delivery Partner Panel) framework and will be built to BREEAM Very Good standard.
Martin Gallagher, Managing Director at Deeley Construction, said: “We are pleased to be continuing to strengthen our partnership with Housing 21 by working on this development at Didcot and nearing completion of the Willow Gardens development in Chipping Norton.
“Our on-site team has been working with the project team and local community to minimise disruption to the local area, on what is a logistically challenging site. This approach of regular communication and working in partnership has ensured that the build programme remains on track.”
Picture caption (Left to right): Lorraine Jenner, Regional Operations Manager at Housing 21; Graham Hill, Site Manager at Deeley Construction; Morgan Richards, Construction Project Manager at Housing 21; Stephen May from Affordable Housing at Vale of White Horse District Council; Cllr Jenny Hannaby, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care at Oxfordshire County Council; Martin Gallagher, Managing Director at Deeley Construction; Cllr Judy Roberts, Cabinet member for Development and Infrastructure at Vale of White Horse District Council; Emma Taylor, Housing Manager at Housing 21; Fiona Clarke, Extra Care Manager (South West) at Housing 21; Lisa Ord, Osbornes Quantity Surveyors; Jayne Bolton, from Infrastructure and Development, and Emma East from Communications at Vale of White Horse District Council.
Matt has raised £4,286 for Macmillan Cancer Research and successfully conquered the booze-free Sober October challenge. The effort has seen him place fifth in the fundraising rankings out of the 34,217 people who took on the challenge.
He received donations from family, friends and colleagues at Midlands-based developer the Deeley Group – but it was his local pub, the Four Provinces, which provided the biggest fundraising boost.
The Four Provinces in Spon End agreed to donate £20 every time Matt visited the pub and didn’t order an alcoholic drink, which resulted in a total of £600 being donated over the course of the month.
Matt has seen mental and physical health benefits from giving up drinking, including losing a stone and a half in 31 days, better sleeping patterns and reduced stress levels.
His pint of choice is Guinness and despite giving the alcohol-free Guinness Zero a try during the month, Matt is looking forward to getting back to The Four Provinces for a pint of the black stuff.
But Matt says he won’t return to his normal drinking habits after seeing the benefits of drinking less alcohol.
Matt said: “I am completely overwhelmed to have raised this amount of money considering I am just a bloke that decided not to drink for a month.
“The first week I would say was the most difficult because you are changing your habits. I could never be a hermit and wanted to see my friends at the pub, so when The Four Provinces agreed to donate every time I went into the pub that was a great excuse to go and socialise.
“I have definitely seen benefits from not drinking. My sleep had been poor for quite a while but now I am sleeping soundly for six to eight hours a night.
“Also, whilst my mental health has always been quite good I have noticed a massive improvement in motivation and feeling fresh in my mind which has lead me to exercise more and generally feel better.
“I have managed to lose a stone and a half in 31 days. I always used to think my younger brother had a better metabolism than me – turns out he just didn’t drink as much!
“This has taught me that I don’t have to have a drink just because I’ve gone to the pub and I do think I will cut my consumption down now.
“The most important thing was that after two weeks my mental health improved so I would urge anybody that is feeling a touch stressed that the option of no drinking for a bit is a great option.”
PICTURE CAPTION: From left to right – Alex Cearins (Four Provinces owner), Matt Lynch and Christy Brown (bar manager).