Club secretary yet to hear from council about proposed Ivy Leaf relocation

Shay Bottomley
Club secretary yet to hear from council after Ivy Leaf relocation brought to cabinet

Maidenhead Ivy Leaf Club’s secretary has expressed her frustration at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council after plans to relocate the club emerged on Thursday (September 30).

Tracey Moore said that the first she had heard of the proposals to relocate the Ivy Leaf, along with five other community groups, was after a paper was published on the agenda for Thursday night’s cabinet meeting.

The report, which was withdrawn during the meeting by council leader Andrew Johnson, recommended the relocation of the club and other community facilities at Holmanleaze to a new purpose-built facility on Blackamoor Lane.

It added that the existing facilities, namely Beehive Playgroup, Maidenhead 9th Scouts Group, Maidenhead 19th Scouts Group, the Jehovah’s Witness and Air Training Corp, needed ‘substantial investment over the next five years’.

The Ivy Leaf site has been allocated within the draft Borough Local Plan for residential development, although Ms Moore told the Advertiser that the last the club had heard from the council was 2018.

“It’s almost like everything is being discussed without us – it’s being discussed for us, instead,” said Tracey.

We had this with Simon Dudley days before the last election, where he promised the mosque that they could have our site without us even knowing.”

Ms Moore added that the club had been offered alternative sites in 2018 as part of the Magnet redevelopment and in the town centre, although both locations were felt to be inappropriate due to noise concerns, lack of parking and safety for elderly members.

“[The council] then said it could build us a new club on Blackamoor Lane, with the same footprint that we’ve got here but a brand-new lease,” she added.

“We were going to put that to members, saying that it could potentially keep the club going for another hundred or so years.

“Then the council came back after a flood risk assessment and said it didn’t want the site.”

Tracey said that she had received an email in 2018 suggesting that the council may decide it wanted the site ‘in the future’, which she believed to be 'much longer' than just over three years.

She also expressed doubt that a new facility would be sufficient for six community groups, saying that the Ivy Leaf currently contains multiple function rooms, including a snooker hall, as well as more than 60 car parking spaces.

“This club is quite a big club,” said Tracey.

“I can’t see how they’re going to fit five other community groups at a new building with the size of this place.

“Obviously, you’ve got houses across the road, so they are going to start complaining about noise and extra traffic.

“We don’t know what to do until the council contacts us. As far as we’re aware, this has just been a discussion, there’s nothing that’s been voted on."

Ms Moore said that she had seen a clip of the meeting in question, although was unsure on the next steps as it appeared that 'nothing was set in stone'.

“It would be nice if they contacted us and said ‘look, we’re thinking about doing this again,’ rather than hearing it second hand," she added.

“We can’t go to our members and ask them what they think, because we don’t know what’s happening.”

Cllr Johnson said that he would pass on the paper to the relevant overview and scrutiny panel before coming back to cabinet 'ideally before the next meeting' at the end of October.

A council spokesperson said: “No decisions have been made about the future of the six community buildings in Holmanleaze.

“The report to Cabinet last week, which suggests a number of options, will be considered and reviewed by the relevant overview and scrutiny panel to prepare recommendations to come back to Cabinet for further discussion.

“The report’s focus is on the delivery of a better, purpose-built facility for community groups in the borough, along with the potential for extra housing, including much-needed affordable housing and the provision of additional community facilities. It makes clear that further conversations and engagement will take place with stakeholders, including the leaseholders, if a decision was made to relocate any of the groups.

“If any of the leaseholders have any concerns, the council would be happy to have discussions with them.”

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