THE very last tile was signed and placed on the roof of the newly constructed Lifton Community Centre at a special ‘topping out’ ceremony recently.
Lifton has been in need of a community centre since 1994, with a board of trustees formed the following year to oversee the process.
After initially looking at converting the church hall into a community centre and realising it would not be viable, the board was in contact with West Devon Borough Council in 1998, where they came across a viable site.
However, the process did not come easily, as some obstacles came with the sale, meaning the board was unable to obtain the land until 2006.
With funding starting to get underway, by 2009, the board were in touch with an architect from Tavistock, Steve Whettem, and in 2012, planning permission was granted — the beginning of a successful project.
This was when funding could really get underway, and in 2013, the project applied for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund, reaching all three phases successfully.
In June last year, the project received over £500,000 in funds for their community centre.
Tony Phillips, chair of trustees of Lifton Community Centre, is really pleased with how the project has come along over time, and spoke of the successful topping out ceremony, which saw the last tile placed onto the roof of the building, signaling the near opening of the centre.
He told the Post: “It’s all going very well. The scaffolding has been taken down, and it’s looking very impressive. It (the topping out event) was fantastic. I think Devon Contractors helped to arrange it, and about 50 people came out.
“The site manager took everyone around the building, and, by what I hear, they were all extremely impressed with how it’s looking.”
Tony explained how the building has now got the windows in place and the roof on, adding: “It’s very, very impressive, and it seems to fit in with the village, which was important to everyone.”
A modern and spacious building, the centre has been brought to pavement level by the architect, Steve Whettem, from Tavistock, making the site very appealing to the eye, whilst also fitting in with the surroundings.
The building has been insulated, and the large, open windows have been designed to provide as much natural light as possible.
Tony, who became the chair of the board of trustees in around 2009 or 2010, explained the original idea was to ‘bring the village together again’.
He said: “The original idea, I think, was — because the road used to be the old A40, it sort of split the village in two. So I think the original idea was to bring the village back together again.
“It’s bigger than any other venue in the village; it’s modern.”
The parish council initially started the project, but with the board of trustees formed soon after ideas for the centre came about, the community project soon blossomed.
One of the most important aspects of the centre was to provide local people with a place to thrive in their hobbies and sports, host village meetings, as well as providing somewhere where everyone can get together.
Tony added: “We’ve had quite a few local organisations that have had to move out of the village, because there was nowhere for them to go, so we’re hoping that it will bring people together.”
It is hoped that the construction work will be complete this month, and, after furnishing and equipping the centre, the entire community have hopes to be able to use their new facility from the autumn period.