Well Street Centre still set for 2014 reopening

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Plans to revamp and reopen Buckingham’s Well Street Centre are still on target, says Bucks County Council (BCC), despite 18 months of apparent inactivity on the site.

A contractor is due to be appointed shortly and work on revamping the centre is expected to begin this summer.

Robin Stuchbury in 2010 with petition against closure of Buckingham's day centres

Robin Stuchbury in 2010 with petition against closure of Buckingham's day centres

The Well Street Centre was closed by BCC in September 2011, following its consultation on the future of day services in the county, entitled Having A Good Day, in 2010.

During the consultation, the county council outlined proposals to transform the delivery of adult day services.

The plan was to use money released from selling off some of the 22 buildings owned by the county council to create a network of fewer but better buildings – one of which was to be in Buckingham.

The idea was for the new centres to provide building-based services only for people with the most complex needs, while people with less complex needs would be offered community-based services and activities.

A year after the closure of the Well Street Centre, BCC applied for planning permission to redesign the building, in September 2012.

The revamp was designed to address such issues as lack of space for wheelchairs to manoeuvre, lack of toilet facilities for clients with severe and critical needs and level access to private garden space.

The centre was due to reopen in autumn 2014.

But after months of nothing happening on the site, newly elected county councillor for Buckingham West Robin Stuchbury has wasted no time in emailing BCC’s strategic director of adult services, Trevor Boyd, to ask for an update on the long-term intention for the building.

In response to the enquiry, a BCC spokesman told the Advertiser: “The centre in Well Street is part of a wider programme to provide day opportunities centres across the county and there have been some unavoidable delays in the programme which have impacted on progress with Well Street.

“Following the consultation session on the plans at Buckingham Library in April 2012, a considerable amount of work has taken place in terms of preparing a successful planning application, preparing detailed build plans, asbestos surveys and preparing a tender for contractors.

“The tender for the contractor went out at the beginning of May and we are expecting the contractor to be appointed in June.

“It is anticipated the refurbishment will commence in June/July this year with the work being completed in March 2014.

“There will then be a period of final preparation so that the clients can begin using the building in April 2014.”