Hundreds of people have signed a petition to prevent a much-loved community centre in Feltham from being bulldozed and replaced by housing.

So far around 340 signatures have been gathered to stop Hounslow council from closing down the Sparrow Farm Community Centre in Feltham, to pave the way for affordable housing and a 'smaller' new community centre.

The redevelopment proposes up to 28 one to three bedroom flats over five storeys.

Sketch view of proposed building at Sparrow Farm Drive, Feltham

In addition a community centre with a reception area, large hall with the capacity to fit 300 people and a smaller meeting room.

Other features include a large communal garden, children's play area, as well as bin and cycle stores.

However the new plans have not been well received by a large number of people living in the area.

Residents of Sparrow Farm Tenants and Residents Association were outraged when the council served a notice on February 25, bringing an end to the lease on the building.

From its humble beginnings to date it has been paid for, served and used by the community.

Existing images of Sparrow Farm community centre

"This Community Centre has been here as long as the estate was built and was paid for by the residents of the estate," said Raymond Truss, chairperson of Sparrow Farm Tenants and Residents Association.

"I along with others volunteer our services and organise various events. The majority of residents are totally opposed to this closure."

Both the young and old have spoken out in anger over the current situation.

While some have said the centre is "a lifeline for many residents", others said the closure would be "devastating" for the community.

Rita Horsley, 83, of Cygnet Avenue, Feltham said: "It's a meeting place for residents young and old. We do everything there.

"For people who are elderly it is an escape from the house where we can meet.

"It was paid for by us residents in the first place."

Proposed layout of new community centre

Mr and Mrs Pink , both in their 80s, of Sparrow Farm Drive added: "The atmosphere in the club is excellent. Repairs that needed doing are now being done.

"It would be a disaster if the centre closed. It has been a lifeline for the many residents who have lived here since the estate was built."

Jack Wills, 25, also of Sparrow Farm Drive, said: "I use the centre to meet up with my pals from the estate. We play pool and darts and watch the football and sports on the TV .

"So few places in Feltham to go now. I would be devastated if it closes."

Residents enjoy Christmas event held at Sparrow Farm community centre

Doreen Gowers, aged 82, of Sparrow Farm Drive, has been a member since 1982 and attended many functions from wedding and birthdays to cabaret and sports tournaments.

She added: "It has always been the central point of everything happening on the Sparrow Farm Estate.

"Everyone supports each other through hard times, illness and bereavements.

"I personally have been organising a club for the elderly people on the estate for four years.

"This helps ease the loneliness amongst the elderly and gives them something to look forward to with friends.

"If the club closes we will have nowhere to meet and all our hard work will have been in vain."

Proposals for new housing and community centre at Sparrow Farm Drive

In its proposal the council has said the existing buildings do not meet 'modern day building standards' and that the site is 'under-used'.

The plans also say: "The proposal will provide a new Community Centre with good quality flexible accommodation and modern facilities designed to meet the local community’s needs.

"The proposal will also contribute to the council’s commitment to providing new affordable family homes for rent within the borough."

Residents enjoy one of the many events held at the Sparrow Farm community centre

A meeting was to held by residents on Saturday (March 11) with local MP Seema Malhotra and a number of councillors.

An exhibition will display the plans by Hounslow Housing for the site and a project team will be on hand to answer any questions.

Residents are urged to have their say on the plans and can attend the exhibit from 10am to midday at Shop unit 6, Central Parade, Sparrow Farm Drive, on Saturday (March 18).

A planning application is due to be submitted in the spring and a decision made by the summer of this year.

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