Students build on community success

University of Wolverhampton students are building on their recent success by helping to survey community buildings in Telford.

Telford & Wrekin Council recently announced that it will no longer be able to manage the Community Centre on Sutton Hill from next April and local people have set up a new charity and the Sutton Hill Community Trust are due to take over the buildings in 2017.

Following some excellent work this year at the Anstice Centre in Madeley, partners approached the University of Wolverhampton School of Architecture and Built Environment to see whether students might be able to help develop the ambitions at Sutton Hill.

The community centre buildings are almost 50 years old and in need of refurbishment and improvement to give them a viable future. Students are being tasked with coming up with a number of redevelopment proposals, including working within the current buildings footprint through to a complete regeneration of the centre of the estate.

Reverend Linda Cronin, founding member of Sutton Hill Partnership and a Trustee on the new Community Trust, said:  “We have been thinking about the future of the centre and community buildings on Sutton Hill for a couple of years. This is an excellent opportunity both for the students and the people of Sutton Hill. We will be able to take the ideas that come from the University and look at how we can then raise the necessary finance to make something happen.”

Paul Boden, Technical Resource Manager at the University of Wolverhampton, was born and lived on Sutton Hill for 30 years, and his local knowledge and contacts will increase the students understanding of the area when developing their ideas.  He said: “It was pleasing to have been recommended by Councillor Paul Watling in recognition for the work our now graduate students completed on the Anstice Building. It’s a great opportunity for our students to work on a live community project, with its challenges of meeting Social, Commercial, Youth and Religious provision.

“Now the students have been onsite, met staff and public users of the facilities I’m very much looking forward to seeing their ideas develop, with the goal of creating an integrated building design and a welcoming facility in the heart of Sutton Hill.”

Colin Orr, Head of Architecture Department at the University of Wolverhampton, said, “It’s great that our final year students can work on a real community project. The history of Sutton Hill as the first estate in the development of Telford new town brings additional interest to their studies. We are really looking forward to seeing what the students come up with over the next 8 months.”

The students will present their design concepts at public exhibitions on Sutton Hill next summer.

Councillor Paul Watling, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Communities, said: “These are extremely challenging times financially but I am delighted at the way the community across the borough has responded to keep frontline services operating and this is a prime example.

“Central Government cuts to the council’s budget means that we are no longer able to manage facilities like Sutton Hill Community Centre but the response from local residents has been fabulous and they will take over the centre next year.”

To find out more contact project manager, Sam Hine, by email: sam@samhine.co.uk

Photo shows: University of Wolverhampton students on a recent site visit to Sutton Hill

ENDS

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued: 5th December 2017

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