Owners of Kirkby’s Diamond Centre move to allay fears over site’s future

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THE owners of Kirkby’s Diamond Centre have moved to allay fears over its future after plans were submitted to convert it into living accommodation.

Rumours began to circulate around the Kirkby community after the application to change the Diamond Avenue facility from a community centre to three self-contained living units - containing a total of 28 bedrooms and associated parking - was put forward to Ashfield District Council.

Chad was contacted by residents concerned the centre would be used as bedsits for ex-offenders, something not considered suitable because of its proximity to Morven Park Primary School, on School Street.

But the property owners, Leaworks Ltd, say the Diamond Centre will not be changed into bedsits and insist it was never going to be used by ex-offenders.

Jason Henshaw, from Leaworks, said that the company submits planning applications for changes of use on many of its properties - but that does not mean that they will change their use.

He said that it ‘keeps the architects on their toes’ and helps the company build a rapport with the local authority through the contact they then have with them.

“The Diamond Centre was never going to be intended for young offenders or anything like that,” he said.

“We are also planning on putting in a change of use application for offices.”

The Diamond Centre is currently leased to Community CentrePoint, part of Trinity Methodist Church, and is being transformed into a new community centre. The lease is for at least five years and Mr Henshaw said Leaworks is currently having some work done on the building to bring it up to standard as a community centre.

“We will be honouring the five-year lease with Community CentrePoint,” he added.

“We don’t want people to worry about it when there is nothing to worry about.”

Valerie Smith, centre administrator at Community Centrepoint, said that they had spoken to their landlord and were going ahead with the plans for the community centre as normal.