COMMUNITY leaders have expressed fears a vital £650,000 of promised investment for Feltham appears to have fallen by the wayside.
Spearheading the fight for people in Feltham, Bedfont and Hanworth, David Howell, co-founder of Feltham Community Association (FCA), a local community charity, is angered by the council’s seeming lack of commitment to deliver much-needed activities for young people and the community as a whole.
Councillors pledged in February last year to plough money from the sale of FCA’s base back into the Feltham community and ever since Mr Howell has been piling pressure on them to turn words into action.
This week the local authority confirmed to the Chronicle the pot of funds is still available, but it claimed it is yet to find activities and services to spend it on.
Mr Howell of Vernon Road, Feltham, said: "Feltham, Bedfont and Hanworth are three villages left out in the London borough of Hounslow. We seem to be the poor relation and it’s an area where there is a considerable amount of need."
The original Feltham Community Centre was based in Cardinal Road from 1972 for 18 years, before it was given up to make way for what is now the Cardinal Road Nursery and Infant School.
The FCA was moved to the old Railwaymen’s Hotel in 1991, a derelict and burnt down site, which was bought for £650,000 on the back of a planning agreement between the council and Tesco.
It was named the Feltham People’s Centre and revamped by FCA members before being used by the community, including an Asian women’s group, youth groups and other social clubs as well as for events such as wedding receptions.
Good times were short-lived and by 2002 turmoil struck when the council introduced a £24,000 annual rent fee, which forced the group to give up the site.
Mr Howell added: "The site then went to auction and was sold off. We are still owed back the £650,000 and the site was recently sold at auction for £1million."
He added a meeting with the council last month had been positive, but felt a full consultation with residents was needed in order to ensure the money went where the people wanted it to.
Councillor Ruth Cadbury, cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said: "We are reviewing the community buildings in the area, to see where any new investment would complement and improve, rather than duplicate existing provision.
"The people’s centre did play a role, but it wasn’t the only community building in the area, and there remains a number of facilities run by both the council and voluntary sector. We are keen to hear from community groups in the area for their views on the existing provision and what they’d like to see."