Aylesbury Town Council to transform closed social club into multi-purpose community hub

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The town council confirmed the takeover this morning

Aylesbury Town Council is reopening a recently-closed social club as a multi-purpose community hub.

The town council has purchased the Aylesbury Railway Club, which operated for 65 years prior to its recent closure. Aylesbury Railway Club closed in June last year, but the council says plans are in place to reopen the site in 2024.

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Aylesbury Town Council confirmed the purchase at a meeting on Tuesday (30 January), before announcing its plans for the site this morning (1 February).

The Railway ClubThe Railway Club
The Railway Club

Also, the town council has revealed plans to oversee operations at three other community centres in Aylesbury.

Aylesbury Town Council wants to use the venue as a:

-Cultural centre: a space for music and drama performances, amateur drama groups, creative workshops, film shows, lecturers and exhibitions

-Social centre: a welcoming and safe environment for social activities and community forums

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-Learning centre: rooms and facilities for local schools and learning organisations

-Health centre: rooms and halls for fitness activities and classes and potentially GP forums, blood donors etc.

-Leisure and recreational centre: a hub for new groups to develop as well as existing clubs and societies

-Information centre: a place for signposting to local groups, activities and services

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-Advice centre: opportunities for organisations to offer advice, counselling services, drop-in sessions to benefit local residents

-Celebration centre: space for private functions and celebrations including weddings, christenings and parties

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Aylesbury Town Council is also taking over Aylesbury Multicultural Centre, Haydon Hill Community Centre and Quarrendon and Meadowcroft Community Centre including Bowler’s Field, which will be taken on by the town council on a 25-year lease agreement, beginning 1 April 2024.

Aylesbury Town Council Leader, Councillor Richard Lloyd, said: "I am delighted that Aylesbury Town Council are in a position where we can save four community centres for our residents. One of which, the Railway Club, was at risk of being lost and the three community centres funding was to be withdrawn by Buckinghamshire Council. As our town grows and at a time when many community assets elsewhere in the county are at threat Aylesbury Town Council is stepping in to safeguard their future. Buckinghamshire Council will be reducing their "Aylesbury Special Expenses" so that the transfer of the three centres is cost neutral to the taxpayer."

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As a consequence of these decisions the council has set its precept to £2.50 per week for a Band D household for the 2024/25 financial year.

Councillor Lloyd added: “£2.50 per week per household represents value for residents and it will allow us to continue the full programme of events offered throughout the year, such as Parklife Weekend, Aylesbury on Sea, Christmas on the Cobbles and Soapbox Derby; improve our community services, including Tring Road Cemetery, allotments, our outdoor maintenance schedules, Christmas light displays, Jonathan Page Play Centre, Aylesbury in Bloom projects and continue to support and invest in the town and our community through the new community hub at the Railway Club and other projects.

“The council continues to support a wide range of organisations year-round through its grants programme too.”