Update from Ashland Steering Group
Ashland Lakeside is now really starting to take shape, and there’s some great progress being made. Firstly, the building has a ‘proper’ name, which we think reflects the surroundings and its Ashland location. The Steering Group encouraged input from all residents to select a name, and of the fifteen suggestions, three were short-listed to go out to a vote. A vote was conducted at the end of March, promoted via Facebook, and Ashland Lakeside gained nearly half of the votes.
With the interior fit-out being conducted very competently by MK College, and the deck now taking shape, attention is turning to the external fittings and security of the building, and landscaping. The building is fitted with CCTV cameras, and railings will be fitted around the decking area. The front door is now on and The Parks Trust have already started to support us by clearing some of the weeds around the building and they will be planting shrubs over the coming months. They will be seeding the lawn early in the autumn and planting trees and shrubs in January.
We’re very grateful for the generosity of Bridgman & Bridgman in Wolverton for their support with the sedum roof. If you’re tall enough, or lucky to have a ‘birds-eye view’, you’ll notice that only two-thirds of the roof is completed. The remaining section will be used by Bridgman & Bridgman as a test site to trial new plants and techniques. In exchange for this, they offered us a considerable saving on cost, which was warmly received by those managing the budget!
The building has been inspected for fire safety, and internal capacity has been confirmed for 50 people sitting or standing, with 40 sitting around tables (such as for a quiz or a meal). We’ll have enough tables and chairs to suit the numbers, and the building feels spacious and airy with these configurations.
Many are now asking about hiring the building and when it may be open. There is still work to be done, and we need that to be completed before we can arrange insurance. We’re still waiting on an approximate date, and we’ll let you know as soon as one is available. The Steering Group is intending to hold an opening event, so watch this space!
As always, we’d like to acknowledge the generosity of other local businesses, including Brewers in Bletchley who donated the interior paint, and another Bletchley-based business, JustTopps for their gift of the kitchen worktop.
MK College has shown considerable commitment, for which we’re really grateful, and their students have displayed high levels of professionalism throughout. This is also a good time to thank Mark Colton, from the Parks Trust, who has been unfailingly helpful throughout; he is retiring at the end of June. As always, our architect Andrew Armes continues to do a fabulous job managing this project to get us to completion. Thanks, also, to the Parish Council who have been steadfast in their determination to complete the building, despite all the challenges thrown in the path. And finally, thanks to the Steering Group and local residents who have, and continue to give their time to the project.
To keep up to date with all developments on Ashland Lakeside and how you can get involved, please join us via the ‘Ashland Neighbourhood Watch’ page on Facebook.
Caroline Vooght, on behalf of the Ashland Steering Group