Community Building

Simpson Manor Neighbourhood Watch – Our Involvement

Although Simpson Manor Neighbourhood Watch is involved in voluntarily communicating with the residents of Simpson Manor on the Community Building Project, the co-ordinators emphasise that the Watch takes a totally neutral stance on the issue – taking no ground on whether it is  for and against. All information is given in good faith on the basis of what is passed on to us, but the Watch cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies given out, as it does not have access to all information and official documentation. The Watch is not a public authority and is not acting as an agent for the Parish Council, Scout Group nor any other local authority. Communication with the Watch does not prevent members of the public communicating directly with Wootton Parish Council on this issue.

UPDATE – June 2014

The original plans drawn up in 1999 can be found here. We apologise for the quality and would point out that the drawings are there for impression only and it is unlikely that the final building will follow the plans to the letter.

January 2014


In 1998 an agreement was signed by the building consortium responsible for Simpson Manor to provide funds for a community building on the public open space adjoining Hermitage Way and what is now Brigadier Close. (Negotiations have since also secured further monies to cover incidental work still needed on site, and to cover the effect of the retail price index on the original sum.). In essence there would be around £250,000 accumulated for the build from the original agreement. Drawings at the time (dated 2000) were made of the proposed centre and car parking area. A copy of these should soon be available on the Neighbourhood Watch web-site to give people an idea of what was originally planned. The total footprint covers around 25% of the present current grassed area at the site.

As the estate now nears final adoption and the public open space is due for handover to the Parish Council, it is time to make decisions on this issue, as the money, under the terms of the agreement, must be returned to the developers if a community building is not constructed.

Early in 2013, Wootton Scout Group, which does not have a permanent venue for meetings etc., approached the Parish Council with a view to becoming a substantial stakeholder in the new building. Since then it’s ideas have progressed and a contribution of a further £250,000 could be raised by that organisation towards the project. Potentially therefore, there is around £0.5m available for the community building.

Simpson Manor Neighbourhood Watch has now been approached by the Parish Council as a communication portal to be part of a consultation process on the building proposals, which if constructed would be of similar size to Blackymore Centre, but not necessarily complying to the original plans of 2000. The Watch will in the ensuing weeks and months be distributing consultation document(s) to all residents of the estate, and making them available on our web-site as more information emerges, but in essence the options would appear to be:

1. To build a centre for the benefit of Simpson Manor and associated community, and of course the Scout Group. This would have to be under the control of a properly constituted management team, and would secure the land for the use and pleasure of the local area. Appropriate proportional use would need to be allocated to the Scouts and local community.

2. To build a very much more modest, smaller building with limited scope without the Scout Group’s funding and input.

3. Not to build anything, all funds being returned to the building consortium, and leaving the space without any facilities.

It would be totally wrong at this juncture to try and influence our membership and residents one way or another, but if the initial ideas are brought to fruition, clearly there would be a need to ensure nearby householders could continue to enjoy peace and quiet, the building was properly shuttered when not in use and that undesirables were not attracted. On the plus side, of course, the building could prove to be of enormous local benefit.

On the other hand if nothing was built, could the site become a target for further housing development?

We emphasise that these ideas are still very much in their infancy, and many questions will need to be answered in the process.