Using our Heritage to Shape the Future

Parish take-over of The Gower ‘broadly welcomed’

The Gower Residents SurveyNews of the St Georges & Priorslee Parish Council seriously considering taking on the responsibility of The Gower has been broadly welcomed. The Gower Heritage & Enterprise Foundation currently has day-to-day responsibility for the building and grounds and consider the move to have considerable positive potential.

The Foundation’s formal response to the Residents Survey is as follows:

  1. Are you a resident of St Georges & Priorslee?

The Gower Old School House group manage the Gower building and its surrounding grounds on behalf of The Gower Heritage and Enterprise Foundation (GHEF). Its membership is made up of local residents and people with strong links and affection for the building through their attendance when it previously operated as the ‘Board School’ and youth centre.

  1. How important, is it to you that the Gower building is reopened and used as a community facility and resource?

The Project’s aim has been to bring the Gower Street School back into use. This means on behalf of the Gower Heritage & Enterprise Foundation we need to:

    • involve the local community in managing the project and developing suitable plans.
    • secure funds to renovate the building and the land around it.
    • make use of the building and land before renovation begins.
    • make sure the building and land remain an asset for the local community.

We therefore consider it very important that the Gower building is reopened and used as a community facility and resource.

  1. Do you support the proposal for the parish council to take on the responsibility of the Gower and raise its precept to pay for it?

The idea of St Georges and Priorslee Parish Council’s moving into The Gower building has long been discussed with expectation that the Foundation and the wider local community would work alongside the Parish to manage the facility. This initiative is therefore broadly welcomed. If it were to come to fruition, it would represent a positive step towards achieving the aims of The Foundation.

  1. Please tell us why you ‘do’ or ‘do not’ support it?

The proposal to support this initiative through an increase in the Council’s precept would seem appropriate as the main beneficiaries would be residents of the parish.

  1. Please tell us if the building was reopened what activities and events would you like it to provide?

The question of how local residents would like to use The Gower has been put on a number of occasions. Responses to this question at consultation events are as follows:

Business meetings                Business support room            Small wedding ceremonies

Community group meetings  Art space                                  Adult learning room

Clubs i.e. chess, job, book, homework, afterschool, etc.       Table tennis

Music room                            Small dance studio                   Baby Clinic

Computer suite                       Sofa’s soft chairs                      Free Wi-Fi

Library                                    Youth club                                 Choir practice

Social help for teenagers to get help with bullying                 Fitness

  1. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

GHEF represents a large number of people who have worked for over six years with a common aim to see The Gower and its grounds are retained as an asset for the communities of St Georges, neighbouring parishes and Telford. We have collectively contributed thousands of volunteer hours and significant resources to breathe life into a building that would otherwise have been demolished.

Funds and support from local business have been attracted to enable parts to be refurbished, enhanced and to minimise further degradation of the building’s fabric.

While the Parish Council’s recent interest in securing a positive future for The Gower building is welcomed, recognition must be given to all those who have persevered in spite of criticism from a vocal minority of local residents, difficulties liaising with local authorities and limitations due to the lack of hands-on voluntary support. The Council’s initiative has the potential to realise the vision that GHEF has for The Gower and we would therefore be keen to play an active part in the next chapter in the building’s long history.

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