Work to transform the former Co-Op building on Flaxley Road into a community hub is underway.
The renovation project is being carried out by Selby Big Local with a £1m grant from the National Lottery Community Fund. The group is turning the building into ‘Our Space’ - a community space where people can meet, have a coffee or hire out a room. Initial plans were first discussed several years ago, though the project has faced delays because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But a ‘groundbreaking day’ was held last month, and the premises is now in the hands of the builders and architects working on the project.
Tracy Wilson, secretary of Selby Big Local, said: “Our hope is still the same, to bring a safe, warm space. The name ‘Our Space’ was decided on by local residents, we though it was indicative of what we were doing. “We spent a bit of time on deciding what the feel of the building needed to be and what it should look like, somewhere that is welcoming and friendly. “Things have been delayed over the last couple of years, but now planning permission is sorted and work has finally started. It’s all happening from here.” Richard Cooke, chairman of Selby Big Local, said about £400,000 of the grant would be used to renovate the building. He added: “I feel a mixture of excitement and nervousness, because in a sense the physical building is only one aspect of it. It’s also about making this financially viable. It’s all our hard work that we’ve done before coming to fruition. “There isn’t anywhere like this in Flaxley Road. I have lived here for 16 years and we want it to be somewhere where community can happen. We have a garage at the back which we’re opening up into an activity space.” Gail Errity, resident member of the group, said the money was granted from the National Lottery, which considers areas in need.
She added: “Because Selby is an ex-mining town - I think that’s the category we came under; a declining industry and there is a need for regeneration in improving the community. “We were granted £1m over a ten year period, and we wanted to do something which left a legacy, something for the community which they will use past the end of the ten year period.” Gail said Selby Big Local will be doing as much of the work as they can themselves, but the group is also looking for local renovation companies to share their skills.
The Selby Big Local team with the builders and architects working on the renovation. (01-12-03 ST)