With the housing development on what was Cowley Concrete, now Radley Green Estate and the farm land to its north, now Peachcroft Estate, it was felt that a community centred establishment would be required for the new residents.
With this in mind, representatives of The Vale and Town Councils with interested groups and individuals met at All Saints Church Hall in 1978/79 to formulate a plan of action. At the first AGM on 11 May 79 a constitution was adopted for the newly formed North East Abingdon Community Association. Reverend M Temple was voted in as President, C Jarvis as Chairman, Mrs P Stagg as Treasurer and Mrs J Church as Secretary.
The catchment area of the Association had been set as that area bounded by Twelve Acre Drive, Oxford Road, Norman Avenue and Radley Road.
Initial costing for the Centre had been estimated at £50000 of which £6000 would have to be raised from residents and other benefactors.
By 1983 outline planning permission had been given for Phase 1. £6,000 had been raised from residents and benefactors, Radley Parish had donated £2,000, Abingdon Town Council £4,000, the Rank Organisation £1000 with a substantial grant, £70,000, from the Vale.
Early 1984 saw the foundations being dug with the ceremonial digging of the first ‘sod’ by Chairman of the VoWHDC, John Jones, together with the Town Mayor, George Lewis and John Sloper, who was, by now, Chairman of the Association.
The Social Club was set up under the Industrial & Provident Societies Acts in May of 84 and on 11 May 85 the completed Phase I was open by two ‘young people’, Sophie Haynes and Louise Goff supported by the Mayor, Leader of the District Council and a number of local councillors. The Social Club opened that evening with beer on sale at 40p a pint (!).
With the successful opening and running of Phase 1, thoughts turned to Phase 2, although it was realised it would be several years before plans could be finalised and money raised to cover the cost.
In 1990 possible plans were produced which showed a costing of £130,000 and the following year planning permission was obtained for Phase 2. With grants of £1,000 from Abingdon Town Council, £36,000 from Oxfordshire Rural Communities Council, £60,000 from the Vale of White Horse and a loan of £78,000 from the Yorkshire Bank (by now, costs had gone up) building work commenced in the latter part of ’91 and the new building opened by John Patten MP and dignitaries on the 2nd of May 92.
In 2000 a plan for Phase 3 was drawn up for an additional community hall to the rear of the present building, a dedicated pre-school to the side and an extension of the cellar at the front. Three separate applications for a Lottery Grant were turned down, although there was a promise of a grant from the Vale, consequently the plans had to be put on hold. The planned cellar extension and re-vamping of the access to the front went ahead though for safety reasons.
It is now hoped that we can get permission to erect a ‘log cabin’ style building for the pre-school.